Saturday, October 13, 2007



William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan collaborated on 14
operas in the period from 1871 to 1896. The are the following:
The Gondoliers
The King of Barataria
Libretto by William S. Gilbert
Music by Arthur S. Sullivan
THE DUKE OF PLAZA-TORO (a Grandee of Spain)
LUIZ (his attendant)
DON ALHAMBRA DEL BOLERO (the Grand Inquisitioner)
Venetian Gondoliers
CASILDA (her Daughter)
INEZ (the King's Foster-mother)
Chorus of Gondoliers and Contadine, Men-at-Arms, Heralds and
The Piazzetta, Venice
Pavilion in the Palace of Barataria
(An interval of three months is supposed to elapse between Acts I
and II)
Scene.-- the Piazzetta, Venice. The Ducal Palace on the right.
Fiametta, Giulia, Vittoria, and other Contadine discovered, each
tying a bouquet of roses.
List and learn, ye dainty roses,
Roses white and roses red,
Why we bind you into posies
Ere your morning bloom has fled.
By a law of maiden's making,
Accents of a heart that's aching,
Even though that heart be breaking,
Should by maiden be unsaid:
Though they love with love exceeding,
They must seem to be unheeding--
Go ye then and do their pleading,
Roses white and roses red!
Two there are for whom in duty,
Every maid in Venice sighs--
Two so peerless in their beauty
That they shame the summer skies.
We have hearts for them, in plenty,
They have hearts, but all too few,
We, alas, are four-and-twenty!
They, alas, are only two!
We, alas!
FIA. Are four-and-twenty,
They, alas!
FIA. Are only two.
CHORUS. They, alas, are only two, alas!
Now ye know, ye dainty roses,
Roses white and roses red,
Why we bind you into posies,
Ere your morning bloom has fled,
Roses white and roses red!
(During this chorus Antonio, Francesco, Giorgio, and other
Gondoliers have entered unobserved by the Girls--at first two,
then two more, then four, then half a dozen, then the remainder
of the Chorus.)
FRANC. Good morrow, pretty maids; for whom prepare ye
These floral tributes extraordinary?
FIA. For Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri,
The pink and flower of all the Gondolieri.
GIU. They're coming here, as we have heard but lately,
To choose two brides from us who sit sedately.
ANT. Do all you maidens love them?
ALL. Passionately!
ANT. These gondoliers are to be envied greatly!
GIOR. But what of us, who one and all adore you?
Have pity on our passion, we implore you!
FIA. These gentlemen must make their choice before you;
VIT. In the meantime we tacitly ignore you.
GIU. When they have chosen two that leaves you plenty--
Two dozen we, and ye are four-and-twenty.
FIA. and VIT. Till then, enjoy your dolce far niente.
ANT. With pleasure, nobody contradicente!
For the merriest fellows are we, tra la,
That ply on the emerald sea, tra la;
With loving and laughing,
And quipping and quaffing,
We're happy as happy can be, tra la--
With loving and laughing, etc.
With sorrow we've nothing to do, tra la,
And care is a thing to pooh-pooh, tra la;
And Jealousy yellow,
Unfortunate fellow,
We drown in the shimmering blue, tra la--
And Jealousy yellow, etc.
FIA. (looking off). See, see, at last they come to make their
Let us acclaim them with united voice.
(Marco and Giuseppe appear in gondola at back.)
CHORUS (Girls). Hail, hail! gallant gondolieri, ben venuti!
Accept our love, our homage, and our duty.
Ben' venuti! ben' venuti!
(Marco and Giuseppe jump ashore--the Girls salute them.)
MAR. and GIU. Buon' giorno, signorine!
GIRLS. Gondolieri carissimi!
Siamo contadine!
MAR. and GIU. (bowing). Servitori umilissimi!
Per chi questi fiori--
Questi fiori bellissimi?
GIRLS. Per voi, bei signori
O eccellentissimi!
(The Girls present their bouquets to Marco and Giuseppe, who are
overwhelmed with them, and carry them with difficulty.)
MAR. and GIU. (their arms full of flowers). O ciel'! O ciel'!
GIRLS. Buon' giorno, cavalieri!
MAR. and GIU. (deprecatingly). Siamo gondolieri.
(To Fia. and Vit.) Signorina, io t' amo!
GIRLS. (deprecatingly). Contadine siamo.
MAR. and GIU. Signorine!
GIRLS (deprecatingly). Contadine!
(Curtseying to Mar. and Giu.) Cavalieri.
MAR. and GIU. (deprecatingly). Gondolieri!
Poveri gondolieri!
CHORUS. Buon' giorno, signorine, etc.
We're called gondolieri,
But that's a vagary,
It's quite honorary
The trade that we ply.
For gallantry noted
Since we were short-coated,
To beauty devoted,
Giuseppe\Are Marco and I;
When morning is breaking,
Our couches forsaking,
To greet their awaking
With carols we come.
At summer day's nooning,
When weary lagooning,
Our mandolins tuning,
We lazily thrum.
When vespers are ringing,
To hope ever clinging,
With songs of our singing
A vigil we keep,
When daylight is fading,
Enwrapt in night's shading,
With soft serenading
We sing them to sleep.
We're called gondolieri, etc.
MAR. And now to choose our brides!
GIU. As all are young and fair,
And amiable besides,
BOTH. We really do not care
A preference to declare.
MAR. A bias to disclose
Would be indelicate--
GIU. And therefore we propose
To let impartial Fate
Select for us a mate!
ALL. Viva!
GIRLS. A bias to disclose
Would be indelicate--
MEN. But how do they propose
To let impartial Fate
Select for them a mate?
GIU. These handkerchiefs upon our eyes be good enough to
MAR. And take good care that both of us are absolutely
BOTH. Then turn us round--and we, with all convenient
Will undertake to marry any two of you we catch!
ALL. Viva!
They undertake to marry any two of us\them they catch!
(The Girls prepare to bind their eyes as directed.)
FIA. (to Marco). Are you peeping?
Can you see me?
MAR. Dark I'm keeping,
Dark and dreamy!
(Marco slyly lifts
VIT. (to Giuseppe). If you're blinded
Truly, say so
GIU. All right-minded
Players play so!
(slyly lifts bandage).
FIA. (detecting Marco). Conduct shady!
They are cheating!
Surely they de-
Serve a beating!
(replaces bandage).
VIT. (detecting Giuseppe). This too much is;
Maidens mocking--
Conduct such is
Truly shocking!
(replaces bandage).
ALL. You can spy, sir!
Shut your eye, sir!
You may use it by and by, sir!
You can see, sir!
Don't tell me, sir!
That will do--now let it be, sir!
CHORUS OF GIRLS. My papa he keeps three horses,
Black, and white, and dapple grey, sir;
Turn three times, then take your courses,
Catch whichever girl you may, sir!
CHORUS OF MEN. My papa, etc.
(Marco and Giuseppe turn round, as directed, and try to catch the
girls. Business of blind-man's buff. Eventually Marco catches
Gianetta, and Giuseppe catches Tessa. The two girls try to
escape, but in vain. The two men pass their hands over the
girls' faces to discover their identity.)
GIU. I've at length achieved a capture!
(Guessing.) This is Tessa! (removes bandage). Rapture,
CHORUS. Rapture, rapture!
MAR. (guessing). To me Gianetta fate has granted!
(removes bandage).
Just the very girl I wanted!
CHORUS. Just the very girl he wanted!
GIU. (politely to Mar.). If you'd rather change--
TESS. My goodness!
This indeed is simple rudeness.
MAR. (politely to Giu.). I've no preference whatever--
GIA. Listen to him! Well, I never!
(Each man kisses each girl.)
GIA. Thank you, gallant gondolieri!
In a set and formal measure
It is scarcely necessary
To express our pleasure.
Each of us to prove a treasure,
Conjugal and monetary,
Gladly will devote our leisure,
Gay and gallant gondolieri.
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, etc.
TESS. Gay and gallant gondolieri,
Take us both and hold us tightly,
You have luck extraordinary;
We might both have been unsightly!
If we judge your conduct rightly,
'Twas a choice involuntary;
Still we thank you most politely,
Gay and gallant gondolieri!
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, etc.
CHORUS OF Thank you, gallant gondolieri;
GIRLS. In a set and formal measure,
It is scarcely necessary
To express our pleasure.
Each of us to prove a treasure
Gladly will devote our leisure,
Gay and gallant gondolieri!
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, etc.
ALL. Fate in this has put his finger--
Let us bow to Fate's decree,
Then no longer let us linger,
To the altar hurry we!
(They all dance off two and two--Gianetta with Marco, Tessa with
(Flourish. A gondola arrives at the Piazzetta steps, from which
enter the Duke of Plaza-toro, the Duchess, their daughter
Casilda, and their attendant Luiz, who carries a drum. All are
dressed in pompous but old and faded clothes.)
(Entrance of Duke, Duchess, Casilda, and Luiz.)
DUKE. From the sunny Spanish shore,
The Duke of Plaza-Tor!--
DUCH. And His Grace's Duchess true--
CAS. And His Grace's daughter, too--
LUIZ. And His Grace's private drum
To Venetia's shores have come:
ALL. If ever, ever, ever
They get back to Spain,
They will never, never, never
Cross the sea again--
DUKE. Neither that Grandee from the Spanish shore,
The noble Duke of Plaza-Tor'--
DUCH. Nor His Grace's Duchess, staunch and true--
CAS. You may add, His Grace's daughter, too--
LUIZ. Nor His Grace's own particular drum
To Venetia's shores will come:
ALL. If ever, ever, ever
They get back to Spain,
They will never, never, never
Cross the sea again!
DUKE. At last we have arrived at our destination. This is
the Ducal Palace, and it is here that the Grand Inquisitor
resides. As a Castilian hidalgo of ninety-five quarterings, I
regret that I am unable to pay my state visit on a horse. As a
Castilian hidalgo of that description, I should have preferred to
ride through the streets of Venice; but owing, I presume, to an
unusually wet season, the streets are in such a condition that
equestrian exercise is impracticable. No matter. Where is our
LUIZ (coming forward). Your Grace, I am here.
DUCH. Why do you not do yourself the honour to kneel when
you address His Grace?
DUKE. My love, it is so small a matter! (To Luiz.) Still,
you may as well do it. (Luiz kneels.)
CAS. The young man seems to entertain but an imperfect
appreciation of the respect due from a menial to a Castilian
DUKE. My child, you are hard upon our suite.
CAS. Papa, I've no patience with the presumption of persons
in his plebeian position. If he does not appreciate that
position, let him be whipped until he does.
DUKE. Let us hope the omission was not intended as a
slight. I should be much hurt if I thought it was. So would he.
(To Luiz.) Where are the halberdiers who were to have had the
honour of meeting us here, that our visit to the Grand Inquisitor
might be made in becoming state?
LUIZ. Your Grace, the halberdiers are mercenary people who
stipulated for a trifle on account.
DUKE. How tiresome! Well, let us hope the Grand Inquisitor
is a blind gentleman. And the band who were to have had the
honour of escorting us? I see no band!
LUIZ. Your Grace, the band are sordid persons who required
to be paid in advance.
DUCH. That's so like a band!
DUKE (annoyed). Insuperable difficulties meet me at every
DUCH. But surely they know His Grace?
LUIZ. Exactly--they know His Grace.
DUKE. Well, let us hope that the Grand Inquisitor is a deaf
gentleman. A cornet-a-piston would be something. You do not
happen to possess the accomplishment of tootling like a
LUIZ. Alas, no, Your Grace! But I can imitate a farmyard.
DUKE (doubtfully). I don't see how that would help us. I
don't see how we could bring it in.
CAS. It would not help us in the least. We are not a
parcel of graziers come to market, dolt!
DUKE. My love, our suite's feelings! (To Luiz.) Be so
good as to ring the bell and inform the Grand Inquisitor that his
Grace the Duke of Plaza-Toro, Count Matadoro, Baron Picadoro--
DUCH. And suite--
DUKE. And suite--have arrived at Venice, and seek--
CAS. Desire--
DUCH. Demand!
DUKE. And demand an audience.
LUIZ. Your Grace has but to command.
DUKE (much moved). I felt sure of it--I felt sure of it!
(Exit Luiz into Ducal Palace.) And now, my love--(aside to
Duchess) Shall we tell her? I think so--(aloud to Casilda) And
now, my love, prepare for a magnificent surprise. It is my
agreeable duty to reveal to you a secret which should make you
the happiest young lady in Venice!
CAS. A secret?
DUCH. A secret which, for State reasons, it has been
necessary to preserve for twenty years.
DUKE. When you were a prattling babe of six months old you
were married by proxy to no less a personage than the infant son
and heir of His Majesty the immeasurably wealthy King of
CAS. Married to the infant son of the King of Barataria?
Was I consulted? (Duke shakes his head.) Then it was a most
unpardonable liberty!
DUKE. Consider his extreme youth and forgive him. Shortly
after the ceremony that misguided monarch abandoned the creed of
his forefathers, and became a Wesleyan Methodist of the most
bigoted and persecuting type. The Grand Inquisitor, determined
that the innovation should not be perpetuated in Barataria,
caused your smiling and unconscious husband to be stolen and
conveyed to Venice. A fortnight since the Methodist Monarch and
all his Wesleyan Court were killed in an insurrection, and we are
here to ascertain the whereabouts of your husband, and to hail
you, our daughter, as Her Majesty, the reigning Queen of
Barataria! (Kneels.)
(During this speech Luiz re-enters.)
DUCH. Your Majesty! (Kneels.) (Drum roll.)
DUKE. It is at such moments as these that one feels how
necessary it is to travel with a full band.
CAS. I, the Queen of Barataria! But I've nothing to wear!
We are practically penniless!
DUKE. That point has not escaped me. Although I am
unhappily in straitened circumstances at present, my social
influence is something enormous; and a Company, to be called the
Duke of Plaza-Toro, Limited, is in course of formation to work
me. An influential directorate has been secured, and I shall
myself join the Board after allotment.
CAS. Am I to understand that the Queen of Barataria may be
called upon at any time to witness her honoured sire in process
of liquidation?
DUCH. The speculation is not exempt from that drawback. If
your father should stop, it will, of course, be necessary to wind
him up.
CAS. But it's so undignified--it's so degrading! A Grandee
of Spain turned into a public company! Such a thing was never
heard of!
DUKE. My child, the Duke of Plaza-Toro does not follow
fashions--he leads them. He always leads everybody. When he was
in the army he led his regiment. He occasionally led them into
action. He invariably led them out of it.
In enterprise of martial kind,
When there was any fighting,
He led his regiment from behind--
He found it less exciting.
But when away his regiment ran,
His place was at the fore, O--
That celebrated,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
ALL. In the first and foremost flight, ha, ha!
You always found that knight, ha, ha!
That celebrated,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
DUKE. When, to evade Destruction's hand,
To hide they all proceeded,
No soldier in that gallant band
Hid half as well as he did.
He lay concealed throughout the war,
And so preserved his gore, O!
That unaffected,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
ALL. In every doughty deed, ha, ha!
He always took the lead, ha, ha!
That unaffected,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
DUKE. When told that they would all be shot
Unless they left the service,
That hero hesitated not,
So marvellous his nerve is.
He sent his resignation in,
The first of all his corps, O!
That very knowing,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
ALL. To men of grosser clay, ha, ha!
He always showed the way, ha, ha!
That very knowing,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
(Exeunt Duke and Duchess into Grand Ducal Palace. As soon as
they have disappeared, Luiz and Casilda rush to each other's
O rapture, when alone together
Two loving hearts and those that bear them
May join in temporary tether,
Though Fate apart should rudely tear them.
CAS. Necessity, Invention's mother,
Compelled me to a course of feigning--
But, left alone with one another,
I will atone for my disdaining!
CAS. Ah, well-beloved,
Mine angry frown
Is but a gown
That serves to dress
My gentleness!
LUIZ. Ah, well-beloved,
Thy cold disdain,
It gives no pain--
'Tis mercy, played
In masquerade!
BOTH. Ah, well-beloved, etc.
CAS. O Luiz, Luiz--what have you said? What have I done?
What have I allowed you to do?
LUIZ. Nothing, I trust, that you will ever have reason to
repent. (Offering to embrace her.)
CAS. (withdrawing from him). Nay, Luiz, it may not be. I
have embraced you for the last time.
LUIZ (amazed). Casilda!
CAS. I have just learnt, to my surprise and indignation,
that I was wed in babyhood to the infant son of the King of
LUIZ. The son of the King of Barataria? The child who was
stolen in infancy by the Inquisition?
CAS. The same. But, of course, you know his story.
LUIZ. Know his story? Why, I have often told you that my
mother was the nurse to whose charge he was entrusted!
CAS. True. I had forgotten. Well, he has been discovered,
and my father has brought me here to claim his hand.
LUIZ. But you will not recognize this marriage? It took
place when you were too young to understand its import.
CAS. Nay, Luiz, respect my principles and cease to torture
me with vain entreaties. Henceforth my life is another's.
LUIZ. But stay--the present and the future--they are
another's; but the past--that at least is ours, and none can take
it from us. As we may revel in naught else, let us revel in
CAS. I don't think I grasp your meaning.
LUIZ. Yet it is logical enough. You say you cease to love
CAS. (demurely). I say I may not love you.
LUIZ. Ah, but you do not say you did not love me?
CAS. I loved you with a frenzy that words are powerless to
express--and that but ten brief minutes since!
LUIZ. Exactly. My own--that is, until ten minutes since,
my own--my lately loved, my recently adored--tell me that until,
say a quarter of an hour ago, I was all in all to thee!
(Embracing her.)
CAS. I see your idea. It's ingenious, but don't do that.
(Releasing herself.)
LUIZ. There can be no harm in revelling in the past.
CAS. None whatever, but an embrace cannot be taken to act
LUIZ. Perhaps not!
CAS. We may recollect an embrace--I recollect many--but we
must not repeat them.
LUIZ. Then let us recollect a few! (A moment's pause, as
they recollect, then both heave a deep sigh.)
LUIZ. Ah, Casilda, you were to me as the sun is to the
CAS. A quarter of an hour ago?
LUIZ. About that.
CAS. And to think that, but for this miserable discovery,
you would have been my own for life!
LUIZ. Through life to death--a quarter of an hour ago!
CAS. How greedily my thirsty ears would have drunk the
golden melody of those sweet words a quarter--well, it's now
about twenty minutes since. (Looking at her watch.)
LUIZ. About that. In such a matter one cannot be too
CAS. And now our love, so full of life, is but a silent,
solemn memory!
LUIZ. Must it be so, Casilda?
CAS. Luiz, it must be so!
LUIZ. There was a time--
A time for ever gone--ah, woe is me!
It was no crime
To love but thee alone--ah, woe is me!
One heart, one life, one soul,
One aim, one goal--
Each in the other's thrall,
Each all in all, ah, woe is me!
BOTH. Oh, bury, bury--let the grave close o'er
The days that were--that never will be more!
Oh, bury, bury love that all condemn,
And let the whirlwind mourn its requiem!
CAS. Dead as the last year's leaves--
As gathered flowers--ah, woe is me!
Dead as the garnered sheaves,
That love of ours--ah, woe is me!
Born but to fade and die
When hope was high,
Dead and as far away
As yesterday!--ah, woe is me!
BOTH. Oh, bury, bury--let the grave close o'er, etc.
(Re-enter from the Ducal Palace the Duke and Duchess, followed by
Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor.)
DUKE. My child, allow me to present to you His Distinction
Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain. It was
His Distinction who so thoughtfully abstracted your infant
husband and brought him to Venice.
DON AL. So this is the little lady who is so unexpectedly
called upon to assume the functions of Royalty! And a very nice
little lady, too!
DUKE. Jimp, isn't she?
DON AL. Distinctly jimp. Allow me! (Offers his hand. She
turns away scornfully.) Naughty temper!
DUKE. You must make some allowance. Her Majesty's head is
a little turned by her access of dignity.
DON AL. I could have wished that Her Majesty's access of
dignity had turned it in this direction.
DUCH. Unfortunately, if I am not mistaken, there appears to
be some little doubt as to His Majesty's whereabouts.
CAS. (aside). A doubt as to his whereabouts? Then we may
yet be saved!
DON AL. A doubt? Oh dear, no--no doubt at all! He is
here, in Venice, plying the modest but picturesque calling of a
gondolier. I can give you his address--I see him every day! In
the entire annals of our history there is absolutely no
circumstance so entirely free from all manner of doubt of any
kind whatever! Listen, and I'll tell you all about it.
I stole the Prince, and I brought him here,
And left him gaily prattling
With a highly respectable gondolier,
Who promised the Royal babe to rear,
And teach him the trade of a timoneer
With his own beloved bratling.
Both of the babes were strong and stout,
And, considering all things, clever.
Of that there is no manner of doubt--
No probable, possible shadow of doubt--
No possible doubt whatever.
ALL. No possible doubt whatever.
But owing, I'm much disposed to fear,
To his terrible taste for tippling,
That highly respectable gondolier
Could never declare with a mind sincere
Which of the two was his offspring dear,
And which the Royal stripling!
Which was which he could never make out
Despite his best endeavour.
Of that there is no manner of doubt--
No probable, possible shadow of doubt--
No possible doubt whatever.
ALL. No possible doubt whatever.
Time sped, and when at the end of a year
I sought that infant cherished,
That highly respectable gondolier
Was lying a corpse on his humble bier--
I dropped a Grand Inquisitor's tear--
That gondolier had perished.
A taste for drink, combined with gout,
Had doubled him up for ever.
Of that there is no manner of doubt--
No probable, possible shadow of doubt--
No possible doubt whatever.
ALL. No possible doubt whatever.
The children followed his old career--
(This statement can't be parried)
Of a highly respectable gondolier:
Well, one of the two (who will soon be here)--
But which of the two is not quite clear--
Is the Royal Prince you married!
Search in and out and round about,
And you'll discover never
A tale so free from every doubt--
All probable, possible shadow of doubt--
All possible doubt whatever!
ALL. A tale free from every doubt, etc.
CAS. Then do you mean to say that I am married to one of
two gondoliers, but it is impossible to say which?
DON AL. Without any doubt of any kind whatever. But be
reassured: the nurse to whom your husband was entrusted is the
mother of the musical young man who is such a past-master of that
delicately modulated instrument (indicating the drum). She can,
no doubt, establish the King's identity beyond all question.
LUIZ. Heavens, how did he know that?
DON AL. My young friend, a Grand Inquisitor is always up to
date. (To Cas.) His mother is at present the wife of a highly
respectable and old-established brigand, who carries on an
extensive practice in the mountains around Cordova. Accompanied
by two of my emissaries, he will set off at once for his mother's
address. She will return with them, and if she finds any
difficulty in making up her mind, the persuasive influence of the
torture chamber will jog her memory.
CAS. But, bless my heart, consider my position!
I am the wife of one, that's very clear;
But who can tell, except by intuition,
Which is the Prince, and which the Gondolier?
DON AL. Submit to Fate without unseemly wrangle:
Such complications frequently occur--
Life is one closely complicated tangle:
Death is the only true unraveller!
ALL. Try we life-long, we can never
Straighten out life's tangled skein,
Why should we, in vain endeavour,
Guess and guess and guess again?
LUIZ. Life's a pudding full of plums,
DUCH. Care's a canker that benumbs.
ALL. Life's a pudding full of plums,
Care's a canker that benumbs.
Wherefore waste our elocution
On impossible solution?
Life's a pleasant institution,
Let us take it as it comes!
Set aside the dull enigma,
We shall guess it all too soon;
Failure brings no kind of stigma--
Dance we to another tune!
LUIZ. String the lyre and fill the cup,
DUCH. Lest on sorrow we should sup.
ALL. Hop and skip to Fancy's fiddle,
Hands across and down the middle--
Life's perhaps the only riddle
That we shrink from giving up!
(Exeunt all into Ducal Palace except Luiz, who goes off in
(Enter Gondoliers and Contadine, followed by Marco, Gianetta,
Giuseppe, and Tessa.)
Bridegroom and bride!
Knot that's insoluble,
Voices all voluble
Hail it with pride.
Bridegroom and bride!
We in sincerity
Wish you prosperity,
Bridegroom and bride!
TESS. When a merry maiden marries,
Sorrow goes and pleasure tarries;
Every sound becomes a song,
All is right, and nothing's wrong!
From to-day and ever after
Let our tears be tears of laughter.
Every sigh that finds a vent
Be a sigh of sweet content!
When you marry, merry maiden,
Then the air with love is laden;
Every flower is a rose,
Every goose becomes a swan,
Every kind of trouble goes
Where the last year's snows have gone!
CHORUS. Sunlight takes the place of shade
When you marry, merry maid!
TESS. When a merry maiden marries,
Sorrow goes and pleasure tarries;
Every sound becomes a song,
All is right, and nothing's wrong.
Gnawing Care and aching Sorrow,
Get ye gone until to-morrow;
Jealousies in grim array,
Ye are things of yesterday!
When you marry, merry maiden,
Then the air with joy is laden;
All the corners of the earth
Ring with music sweetly played,
Worry is melodious mirth,
Grief is joy in masquerade;
CHORUS. Sullen night is laughing day--
All the year is merry May!
(At the end of the song, Don Alhambra enters at back. The
Gondoliers and Contadine shrink from him, and gradually go off,
much alarmed.)
GIU. And now our lives are going to begin in real earnest!
What's a bachelor? A mere nothing--he's a chrysalis. He can't
be said to live--he exists.
MAR. What a delightful institution marriage is! Why have
we wasted all this time? Why didn't we marry ten years ago?
TESS. Because you couldn't find anybody nice enough.
GIA. Because you were waiting for us.
MAR. I suppose that was the reason. We were waiting for
you without knowing it. (Don Alhambra comes forward.) Hallo!
DON AL. Good morning.
GIU. If this gentleman is an undertaker it's a bad omen.
DON AL. Ceremony of some sort going on?
GIU. (aside). He is an undertaker! (Aloud.) No--a little
unimportant family gathering. Nothing in your line.
DON AL. Somebody's birthday, I suppose?
GIA. Yes, mine!
TESS. And mine!
MAR. And mine!
GIU. And mine!
DON AL. Curious coincidence! And how old may you all be?
TESS. It's a rude question--but about ten minutes.
DON AL. Remarkably fine children! But surely you are
TESS. In other words, we were married about ten minutes
DON AL. Married! You don't mean to say you are married?
MAR. Oh yes, we are married.
DON AL. What, both of you?
ALL. All four of us.
DON AL. (aside). Bless my heart, how extremely awkward!
GIA. You don't mind, I suppose?
TESS. You were not thinking of either of us for yourself, I
presume? Oh, Giuseppe, look at him--he was. He's heart-broken!
DON AL. No, no, I wasn't! I wasn't!
GIU. Now, my man (slapping him on the back), we don't want
anything in your line to-day, and if your curiosity's
satisfied--you can go!
DON AL. You mustn't call me your man. It's a liberty. I
don't think you know who I am.
GIU. Not we, indeed! We are jolly gondoliers, the sons of
Baptisto Palmieri, who led the last revolution. Republicans,
heart and soul, we hold all men to be equal. As we abhor
oppression, we abhor kings: as we detest vain-glory, we detest
rank: as we despise effeminacy, we despise wealth. We are
Venetian gondoliers--your equals in everything except our
calling, and in that at once your masters and your servants.
DON AL. Bless my heart, how unfortunate! One of you may be
Baptisto's son, for anything I know to the contrary; but the
other is no less a personage than the only son of the late King
of Barataria.
ALL. What!
DON AL. And I trust--I trust it was that one who slapped me
on the shoulder and called me his man!
GIU. One of us a king!
MAR. Not brothers!
TESS. The King of Barataria! [Together]
GIA. Well, who'd have thought it!
MAR. But which is it?
DON AL. What does it matter? As you are both Republicans,
and hold kings in detestation, of course you'll abdicate at once.
Good morning! (Going.)
GIA. and TESS. Oh, don't do that! (Marco and Giuseppe stop
GIU. Well, as to that, of course there are kings and kings.
When I say that I detest kings, I mean I detest bad kings.
DON AL. I see. It's a delicate distinction.
GIU. Quite so. Now I can conceive a kind of king--an ideal
king--the creature of my fancy, you know--who would be absolutely
unobjectionable. A king, for instance, who would abolish taxes
and make everything cheap, except gondolas--
MAR. And give a great many free entertainments to the
GIU. And let off fireworks on the Grand Canal, and engage
all the gondolas for the occasion--
MAR. And scramble money on the Rialto among the gondoliers.
GIU. Such a king would be a blessing to his people, and if
I were a king, that is the sort of king I would be.
MAR. And so would I!
DON AL. Come, I'm glad to find your objections are not
MAR. and GIU. Oh, they're not insuperable.
GIA. and TESS. No, they're not insuperable.
GIU. Besides, we are open to conviction.
GIA. Yes; they are open to conviction.
TESS. Oh! they've often been convicted.
GIU. Our views may have been hastily formed on insufficient
grounds. They may be crude, ill-digested, erroneous. I've a
very poor opinion of the politician who is not open to
TESS. (to Gia.). Oh, he's a fine fellow!
GIA. Yes, that's the sort of politician for my money!
DON AL. Then we'll consider it settled. Now, as the
country is in a state of insurrection, it is absolutely necessary
that you should assume the reins of Government at once; and,
until it is ascertained which of you is to be king, I have
arranged that you will reign jointly, so that no question can
arise hereafter as to the validity of any of your acts.
MAR. As one individual?
DON AL. As one individual.
GIU. (linking himself with Marco). Like this?
DON AL. Something like that.
MAR. And we may take our friends with us, and give them
places about the Court?
DON AL. Undoubtedly. That's always done!
MAR. I'm convinced!
GIU. So am I!
TESS. Then the sooner we're off the better.
GIA. We'll just run home and pack up a few things (going)--
DON AL. Stop, stop--that won't do at all--ladies are not
ALL. What!
DON AL. Not admitted. Not at present. Afterwards,
perhaps. We'll see.
GIU. Why, you don't mean to say you are going to separate
us from our wives!
DON AL. (aside). This is very awkward! (Aloud.) Only for
a time--a few months. Alter all, what is a few months?
TESS. But we've only been married half an hour! (Weeps.)
Kind sir, you cannot have the heart
Our lives to part
From those to whom an hour ago
We were united!
Before our flowing hopes you stem,
Ah, look at them,
And pause before you deal this blow,
All uninvited!
You men can never understand
That heart and hand
Cannot be separated when
We go a-yearning;
You see, you've only women's eyes
To idolize
And only women's hearts, poor men,
To set you burning!
Ah me, you men will never understand
That woman's heart is one with woman's hand!
Some kind of charm you seem to find
In womankind--
Some source of unexplained delight
(Unless you're jesting),
But what attracts you, I confess,
I cannot guess,
To me a woman's face is quite
If from my sister I were torn,
It could be borne--
I should, no doubt, be horrified,
But I could bear it;--
But Marco's quite another thing--
He is my King,
He has my heart and none beside
Shall ever share it!
Ah me, you men will never understand
That woman's heart is one with woman's hand!
Do not give way to this uncalled-for grief,
Your separation will be very brief.
To ascertain which is the King
And which the other,
To Barataria's Court I'll bring
His foster-mother;
Her former nurseling to declare
She'll be delighted.
That settled, let each happy pair
Be reunited.
MAR., GIU., Viva! His argument is strong!
GIA., TESS. Viva! We'll not be parted long!
Viva! It will be settled soon!
Viva! Then comes our honeymoon!
(Exit Don
GIA. Then one of us will be a Queen,
And sit on a golden throne,
With a crown instead
Of a hat on her head,
And diamonds all her own!
With a beautiful robe of gold and green,
I've always understood;
I wonder whether
She'd wear a feather?
I rather think she should!
ALL. Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen!
No half-and-half affair, I mean,
But a right-down regular Royal Queen!
MAR. She'll drive about in a carriage and pair,
With the King on her left-hand side,
And a milk-white horse,
As a matter of course,
Whenever she wants to ride!
With beautiful silver shoes to wear
Upon her dainty feet;
With endless stocks
Of beautiful frocks
And as much as she wants to eat!
ALL. Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween, etc.
TESS. Whenever she condescends to walk,
Be sure she'll shine at that,
With her haughty stare
And her nose in the air,
Like a well-born aristocrat!
At elegant high society talk
She'll bear away the bell,
With her "How de do?"
And her "How are you?"
And "I trust I see you well!"
ALL. Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween, etc.
GIU. And noble lords will scrape and bow,
And double themselves in two,
And open their eyes
In blank surprise
At whatever she likes to do.
And everybody will roundly vow
She's fair as flowers in May,
And say, "How clever!"
At whatsoever
She condescends to say!
ALL. Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen!
No half-and-half affair, I mean,
But a right-down regular Royal Queen!
(Enter Chorus of Gondoliers and Contadine.)
Now, pray, what is the cause of this remarkable hilarity?
This sudden ebullition of unmitigated jollity?
Has anybody blessed you with a sample of his charity?
Or have you been adopted by a gentleman of quality?
MAR. and GIU. Replying, we sing
As one individual,
As I find I'm a king,
To my kingdom I bid you all.
I'm aware you object
To pavilions and palaces,
But you'll find I respect
Your Republican fallacies.
CHORUS. As they know we object
To pavilions and palaces,
How can they respect
Our Republican fallacies?
MAR. For every one who feels inclined,
Some post we undertake to find
Congenial with his frame of mind--
And all shall equal be.
GIU. The Chancellor in his peruke--
The Earl, the Marquis, and the Dook,
The Groom, the Butler, and the Cook--
They all shall equal be.
MAR. The Aristocrat who banks with Coutts--
The Aristocrat who hunts and shoots--
The Aristocrat who cleans our boots--
They all shall equal be!
GIU. The Noble Lord who rules the State--
The Noble Lord who cleans the plate--
MAR. The Noble Lord who scrubs the grate--
They all shall equal be!
GIU. The Lord High Bishop orthodox--
The Lord High Coachman on the box--
MAR. The Lord High Vagabond in the stocks--
They all shall equal be!
BOTH. For every one, etc.
Sing high, sing low,
Wherever they go,
They all shall equal be!
CHORUS. Sing high, sing low,
Wherever they go,
They all shall equal be!
The Earl, the Marquis, and the Dook,
The Groom, the Butler, and the Cook,
The Aristocrat who banks with Coutts,
The Aristocrat who cleans the boots,
The Noble Lord who rules the State,
The Noble Lord who scrubs the grate,
The Lord High Bishop orthodox,
The Lord High Vagabond in the stocks--
For every one, etc.
Sing high, sing low,
Wherever they go,
They all shall equal be!
Then hail! O King,
Whichever you may be,
To you we sing,
But do not bend the knee.
Then hail! O King.
MARCO and GIUSEPPE (together).
Come, let's away--our island crown awaits me--
Conflicting feelings rend my soul apart!
The thought of Royal dignity elates me,
But leaving thee behind me breaks my heart!
(Addressing Gianetta and
GIANETTA and TESSA (together).
Farewell, my love; on board you must be getting;
But while upon the sea you gaily roam,
Remember that a heart for thee is fretting--
The tender little heart you've left at home!
GIA. Now, Marco dear,
My wishes hear:
While you're away
It's understood
You will be good
And not too gay.
To every trace
Of maiden grace
You will be blind,
And will not glance
By any chance
On womankind!
If you are wise,
You'll shut your eyes
Till we arrive,
And not address
A lady less
Than forty-five.
You'll please to frown
On every gown
That you may see;
And, O my pet,
You won't forget
You've married me!
And O my darling, O my pet,
Whatever else you may forget,
In yonder isle beyond the sea,
Do not forget you've married me!
TESS. You'll lay your head
Upon your bed
At set of sun.
You will not sing
Of anything
To any one.
You'll sit and mope
All day, I hope,
And shed a tear
Upon the life
Your little wife
Is passing here.
And if so be
You think of me,
Please tell the moon!
I'll read it all
In rays that fall
On the lagoon:
You'll be so kind
As tell the wind
How you may be,
And send me words
By little birds
To comfort me!
And O my darling, O my pet,
Whatever else you may forget,
In yonder isle beyond the sea,
Do not forget you've married me!
QUARTET. Oh my darling, O my pet, etc.
CHORUS (during which a "Xebeque" is hauled alongside the quay.)
Then away we go to an island fair
That lies in a Southern sea:
We know not where, and we don't much care,
Wherever that isle may be.
THE MEN (hauling on boat).
One, two, three,
One, two, three,
One, two, three,
With a will!
ALL. When the breezes are a-blowing
The ship will be going,
When they don't we shall all stand still!
Then away we go to an island fair,
We know not where, and we don't much care,
Wherever that isle may be.
Away we go
To a balmy isle,
Where the roses blow
All the winter while.
ALL (hoisting sail).
Then away we go to an island fair
That lies in a Southern sea:
Then away we go to an island fair,
Then away, then away, then away!
(The men embark on the "Xebeque." Marco and Giuseppe embracing
Gianetta and Tessa. The girls wave a farewell to the men as the
curtain falls.)
SCENE.--Pavilion in the Court of Barataria. Marco and
Giuseppe, magnificently dressed, are seated on two thrones,
occupied in cleaning the crown and the sceptre. The Gondoliers
are discovered, dressed, some as courtiers, officers of rank,
etc., and others as private soldiers and servants of various
degrees. All are enjoying themselves without reference to social
distinctions--some playing cards, others throwing dice, some
reading, others playing cup and ball, "morra", etc.
Of happiness the very pith
In Barataria you may see:
A monarchy that's tempered with
Republican Equality.
This form of government we find
The beau ideal of its kind--
A despotism strict combined
With absolute equality!
Two kings, of undue pride bereft,
Who act in perfect unity,
Whom you can order right and left
With absolute impunity.
Who put their subjects at their ease
By doing all they can to please!
And thus, to earn their bread-and-cheese,
Seize every opportunity.
CHORUS. Of happiness the very pith, etc.
MAR. Gentlemen, we are much obliged to you for your
expressions of satisfaction and good feeling--I say, we are much
obliged to you for your expressions of satisfaction and good
ALL. We heard you.
MAR. We are delighted, at any time, to fall in with
sentiments so charmingly expressed.
ALL. That's all right.
GIU. At the same time there is just one little grievance
that we should like to ventilate.
ALL (angrily). What?
GIU. Don't be alarmed--it's not serious. It is arranged
that, until it is decided which of us two is the actual King, we
are to act as one person.
GIORGIO. Exactly.
GIU. Now, although we act as one person, we are, in point
of fact, two persons.
ANNIBALE. Ah, I don't think we can go into that. It is a
legal fiction, and legal fictions are solemn things. Situated as
we are, we can't recognize two independent responsibilities.
GIU. No; but you can recognize two independent appetites.
It's all very well to say we act as one person, but when you
supply us with only one ration between us, I should describe it
as a legal fiction carried a little too far.
ANNI. It's rather a nice point. I don't like to express an
opinion off-hand. Suppose we reserve it for argument before the
full Court?
MAR. Yes, but what are we to do in the meantime?
MAR. and GIU. We want our tea.
ANNI. I think we may make an interim order for double
rations on their Majesties entering into the usual undertaking to
indemnify in the event of an adverse decision?
GIOR. That, I think, will meet the case. But you must work
hard--stick to it--nothing like work.
GIU. Oh, certainly. We quite understand that a man who
holds the magnificent position of King should do something to
justify it. We are called "Your Majesty"; we are allowed to buy
ourselves magnificent clothes; our subjects frequently nod to us
in the streets; the sentries always return our salutes; and we
enjoy the inestimable privilege of heading the subscription lists
to all the principal charities. In return for these advantages
the least we can do is to make ourselves useful about the Palace.
Rising early in the morning,
We proceed to light the fire,
Then our Majesty adorning
In its workaday attire,
We embark without delay
On the duties of the day.
First, we polish off some batches
Of political despatches,
And foreign politicians circumvent;
Then, if business isn't heavy,
We may hold a Royal levee,
Or ratify some Acts of Parliament.
Then we probably review the household troops--
With the usual "Shalloo humps!" and "Shalloo hoops!"
Or receive with ceremonial and state
An interesting Eastern potentate.
After that we generally
Go and dress our private valet--
(It's a rather nervous duty--he's a touchy little man)--
Write some letters literary
For our private secretary--
He is shaky in his spelling, so we help him if we can.
Then, in view of cravings inner,
We go down and order dinner;
Then we polish the Regalia and the Coronation Plate--
Spend an hour in titivating
All our Gentlemen-in-Waiting;
Or we run on little errands for the Ministers of State.
Oh, philosophers may sing
Of the troubles of a King;
Yet the duties are delightful, and the privileges great;
But the privilege and pleasure
That we treasure beyond measure
Is to run on little errands for the Ministers of State.
CHORUS. Oh, philosophers may sing, etc.
After luncheon (making merry
On a bun and glass of sherry),
If we've nothing in particular to do,
We may make a Proclamation,
Or receive a deputation--
Then we possibly create a Peer or two.
Then we help a fellow-creature on his path
With the Garter or the Thistle or the Bath,
Or we dress and toddle off in semi-state
To a festival, a function, or a fete.
Then we go and stand as sentry
At the Palace (private entry),
Marching hither, marching thither, up and down and to and
While the warrior on duty
Goes in search of beer and beauty
(And it generally happens that he hasn't far to go).
He relieves us, if he's able,
Just in time to lay the table,
Then we dine and serve the coffee, and at half-past twelve
or one,
With a pleasure that's emphatic,
We retire to our attic
With the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done!
Oh, philosophers may sing
Of the troubles of a King,
But of pleasures there are many and of worries there are
And the culminating pleasure
That we treasure beyond measure
Is the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done!
CHORUS. Oh, philosophers may sing, etc.
(Exeunt all but Marco and
GIU. Yes, it really is a very pleasant existence. They're
all so singularly kind and considerate. You don't find them
wanting to do this, or wanting to do that, or saying "It's my
turn now." No, they let us have all the fun to ourselves, and
never seem to grudge it.
MAR. It makes one feel quite selfish. It almost seems like
taking advantage of their good nature.
GIU. How nice they were about the double rations.
MAR. Most considerate. Ah! there's only one thing wanting
to make us thoroughly comfortable.
GIU. And that is?
MAR. The dear little wives we left behind us three months
GIU. Yes, it is dull without female society. We can do
without everything else, but we can't do without that.
MAR. And if we have that in perfection, we have everything.
There is only one recipe for perfect happiness.
Take a pair of sparkling eyes,
Hidden, ever and anon,
In a merciful eclipse--
Do not heed their mild surprise--
Having passed the Rubicon,
Take a pair of rosy lips;
Take a figure trimly planned--
Such as admiration whets--
(Be particular in this);
Take a tender little hand,
Fringed with dainty fingerettes,
Press it--in parenthesis;--
Ah! Take all these, you lucky man--
Take and keep them, if you can!
Take a pretty little cot--
Quite a miniature affair--
Hung about with trellised vine,
Furnish it upon the spot
With the treasures rich and rare
I've endeavoured to define.
Live to love and love to live--
You will ripen at your ease,
Growing on the sunny side--
Fate has nothing more to give.
You're a dainty man to please
If you are not satisfied.
Ah! Take my counsel, happy man;
Act upon it, if you can!
(Enter Chorus of Contadine, running in, led by Fiametta and
Vittoria. They are met by all the Ex-Gondoliers, who welcome
them heartily.)
Here we are, at the risk of our lives,
From ever so far, and we've brought your wives--
And to that end we've crossed the main,
And don't intend to return again!
FIA. Though obedience is strong,
Curiosity's stronger--
We waited for long,
Till we couldn't wait longer.
VIT. It's imprudent, we know,
But without your society
Existence was slow,
And we wanted variety--
BOTH. Existence was slow, and we wanted variety.
ALL. So here we are, at the risk of our lives,
From ever so far, and we've brought your wives--
And to that end we've crossed the main,
And don't intend to return again!
(Enter Gianetta and Tessa. They rush to the arms of Marco and
GIU. Tessa!
TESS. Giuseppe! {All embrace.}
GIA. Marco!
MAR. Gianetta!
TESS. After sailing to this island--
GIA. Tossing in a manner frightful,
TESS. We are all once more on dry land--
GIA. And we find the change delightful,
TESS. As at home we've been remaining--
We've not seen you both for ages,
GIA. Tell me, are you fond of reigning?--
How's the food, and what's the wages?
TESS. Does your new employment please ye?--
GIA. How does Royalizing strike you?
TESS. Is it difficult or easy?--
GIA. Do you think your subjects like you?
TESS. I am anxious to elicit,
Is it plain and easy steering?
GIA. Take it altogether, is it
Better fun than gondoliering?
BOTH. We shall both go on requesting
Till you tell us, never doubt it;
Everything is interesting,
Tell us, tell us all about it!
CHORUS. They will both go on requesting, etc.
TESS. Is the populace exacting?
GIA. Do they keep you at a distance?
TESS. All unaided are you acting,
GIA. Or do they provide assistance?
TESS. When you're busy, have you got to
Get up early in the morning?
GIA. If you do what you ought not to,
Do they give the usual warning?
TESS. With a horse do they equip you?
GIA. Lots of trumpeting and drumming?
TESS. Do the Royal tradesmen tip you?
GIA. Ain't the livery becoming!
TESS. Does your human being inner
Feed on everything that nice is?
GIA. Do they give you wine for dinner;
Peaches, sugar-plums, and ices?
BOTH. We shall both go on requesting
Till you tell us, never doubt it;
Everything is interesting,
Tell us, tell us all about it!
CHORUS. They will both go on requesting, etc.
MAR. This is indeed a most delightful surprise!
TESS. Yes, we thought you'd like it. You see, it was like
this. After you left we felt very dull and mopey, and the days
crawled by, and you never wrote; so at last I said to Gianetta,
"I can't stand this any longer; those two poor Monarchs haven't
got any one to mend their stockings or sew on their buttons or
patch their clothes--at least, I hope they haven't--let us all
pack up a change and go and see how they're getting on." And she
said, "Done," and they all said, "Done"; and we asked old Giacopo
to lend us his boat, and he said, "Done"; and we've crossed the
sea, and, thank goodness, that's done; and here we are,
and--and--I've done!
GIA. And now--which of you is King?
TESS. And which of us is Queen?
GIU. That we shan't know until Nurse turns up. But never
mind that--the question is, how shall we celebrate the
commencement of our honeymoon? Gentlemen, will you allow us to
offer you a magnificent banquet?
ALL. We will!
GIU. Thanks very much; and, ladies, what do you say to a
TESS. A banquet and a dance! O, it's too much happiness!
Dance a cachucha, fandango, bolero,
Xeres we'll drink--Manzanilla, Montero--
Wine, when it runs in abundance, enhances
The reckless delight of that wildest of dances!
To the pretty pitter-pitter-patter,
And the clitter-clitter-clitter-clatter--
Patter, patter, patter, patter, we'll dance.
Old Xeres we'll drink--Manzanilla, Montero;
For wine, when it runs in abundance, enhances
The reckless delight of that wildest of dances!
(The dance is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Don
Alhambra, who looks on with astonishment. Marco and Giuseppe
appear embarrassed. The others run off, except Drummer Boy, who
is driven off by Don Alhambra.)
DON AL. Good evening. Fancy ball?
GIU. No, not exactly. A little friendly dance. That's
all. Sorry you're late.
DON AL. But I saw a groom dancing, and a footman!
MAR. Yes. That's the Lord High Footman.
DON AL. And, dear me, a common little drummer boy!
GIU. Oh no! That's the Lord High Drummer Boy.
DON AL. But surely, surely the servants'-hall is the place
for these gentry?
GIU. Oh dear no! We have appropriated the servants'-hall.
It's the Royal Apartment, and accessible only by tickets
obtainable at the Lord Chamberlain's office.
MAR. We really must have some place that we can call our
DON AL. (puzzled). I'm afraid I'm not quite equal to the
intellectual pressure of the conversation.
GIU. You see, the Monarchy has been re-modelled on
Republican principles.
DON AL. What!
GIU. All departments rank equally, and everybody is at the
head of his department.
DON AL. I see.
MAR. I'm afraid you're annoyed.
DON AL. No. I won't say that. It's not quite what I
GIU. I'm awfully sorry.
MAR. So am I.
GIU. By the by, can I offer you anything after your voyage?
A plate of macaroni and a rusk?
DON AL. (preoccupied). No, no--nothing--nothing.
GIU. Obliged to be careful?
DON AL. Yes--gout. You see, in every Court there are
distinctions that must be observed.
GIU. (puzzled). There are, are there?
DON AL. Why, of course. For instance, you wouldn't have a
Lord High Chancellor play leapfrog with his own cook.
MAR. Why not?
DON AL. Why not! Because a Lord High Chancellor is a
personage of great dignity, who should never, under any
circumstances, place himself in the position of being told to
tuck in his tuppenny, except by noblemen of his own rank. A Lord
High Archbishop, for instance, might tell a Lord High Chancellor
to tuck in his tuppenny, but certainly not a cook, gentlemen,
certainly not a cook.
GIU. Not even a Lord High Cook?
DON AL. My good friend, that is a rank that is not
recognized at the Lord Chamberlain's office. No, no, it won't
do. I'll give you an instance in which the experiment was tried.
DON AL. There lived a King, as I've been told,
In the wonder-working days of old,
When hearts were twice as good as gold,
And twenty times as mellow.
Good-temper triumphed in his face,
And in his heart he found a place
For all the erring human race
And every wretched fellow.
When he had Rhenish wine to drink
It made him very sad to think
That some, at junket or at jink,
Must be content with toddy.
MAR. and GIU. With toddy, must be content with toddy.
DON AL. He wished all men as rich as he
(And he was rich as rich could be),
So to the top of every tree
Promoted everybody.
MAR. and GIU. Now, that's the kind of King for me.
He wished all men as rich as he,
So to the top of every tree
Promoted everybody!
DON AL. Lord Chancellors were cheap as sprats,
And Bishops in their shovel hats
Were plentiful as tabby cats--
In point of fact, too many.
Ambassadors cropped up like hay,
Prime Ministers and such as they
Grew like asparagus in May,
And Dukes were three a penny.
On every side Field-Marshals gleamed,
Small beer were Lords-Lieutenant deemed,
With Admirals the ocean teemed
All round his wide dominions.
MAR. and GIU. With Admirals all round his wide dominions.
DON AL. And Party Leaders you might meet
In twos and threes in every street
Maintaining, with no little heat,
Their various opinions.
MAR. and GIU. Now that's a sight you couldn't beat--
Two Party Leaders in each street
Maintaining, with no little heat,
Their various opinions.
DON AL. That King, although no one denies
His heart was of abnormal size,
Yet he'd have acted otherwise
If he had been acuter.
The end is easily foretold,
When every blessed thing you hold
Is made of silver, or of gold,
You long for simple pewter.
When you have nothing else to wear
But cloth of gold and satins rare,
For cloth of gold you cease to care--
Up goes the price of shoddy.
MAR. and GIU. Of shoddy, up goes the price of shoddy.
DON AL. In short, whoever you may be,
To this conclusion you'll agree,
When every one is somebodee,
Then no one's anybody!
MAR. and GIU. Now that's as plain as plain can be,
To this conclusion we agree--
ALL. When every one is somebodee,
Then no one's anybody!
(Gianetta and Tessa enter unobserved. The two girls, impelled by
curiosity, remain listening at the back of the stage.)
DON AL. And now I have some important news to communicate.
His Grace the Duke of Plaza-Toro, Her Grace the Duchess, and
their beautiful daughter Casilda--I say their beautiful daughter
GIU. We heard you.
DON AL. Have arrived at Barataria, and may be here at any
MAR. The Duke and Duchess are nothing to us.
DON AL. But the daughter--the beautiful daughter! Aha!
Oh, you're a lucky dog, one of you!
GIU. I think you're a very incomprehensible old gentleman.
DON AL. Not a bit--I'll explain. Many years ago when you
(whichever you are) were a baby, you (whichever you are) were
married to a little girl who has grown up to be the most
beautiful young lady in Spain. That beautiful young lady will be
here to claim you (whichever you are) in half an hour, and I
congratulate that one (whichever it is) with all my heart.
MAR. Married when a baby!
GIU. But we were married three months ago!
DON AL. One of you--only one. The other (whichever it is)
is an unintentional bigamist.
GIA. and TESS. (coming forward). Well, upon my word!
DON AL. Eh? Who are these young people?
TESS. Who are we? Why, their wives, of course. We've just
DON AL. Their wives! Oh dear, this is very unfortunate!
Oh dear, this complicates matters! Dear, dear, what will Her
Majesty say?
GIA. And do you mean to say that one of these Monarchs was
already married?
TESS. And that neither of us will be a Queen?
DON AL. That is the idea I intended to convey. (Tessa and
Gianetta begin to cry.)
GIU. (to Tessa). Tessa, my dear, dear child--
TESS. Get away! perhaps it's you!
MAR. (to Gia.). My poor, poor little woman!
GIA. Don't! Who knows whose husband you are?
TESS. And pray, why didn't you tell us all about it before
they left Venice?
DON AL. Because, if I had, no earthly temptation would have
induced these gentlemen to leave two such extremely fascinating
and utterly irresistible little ladies!
TESS. There's something in that.
DON AL. I may mention that you will not be kept long in
suspense, as the old lady who nursed the Royal child is at
present in the torture chamber, waiting for me to interview her.
GIU. Poor old girl. Hadn't you better go and put her out
of her suspense?
DON AL. Oh no--there's no hurry--she's all right. She has
all the illustrated papers. However, I'll go and interrogate
her, and, in the meantime, may I suggest the absolute propriety
of your regarding yourselves as single young ladies. Good
(Exit Don
GIA. Well, here's a pleasant state of things!
MAR. Delightful. One of us is married to two young ladies,
and nobody knows which; and the other is married to one young
lady whom nobody can identify!
GIA. And one of us is married to one of you, and the other
is married to nobody.
TESS. But which of you is married to which of us, and
what's to become of the other? (About to cry.)
GIU. It's quite simple. Observe. Two husbands have
managed to acquire three wives. Three wives--two husbands.
(Reckoning up.) That's two-thirds of a husband to each wife.
TESS. O Mount Vesuvius, here we are in arithmetic! My good
sir, one can't marry a vulgar fraction!
GIU. You've no right to call me a vulgar fraction.
MAR. We are getting rather mixed. The situation is
entangled. Let's try and comb it out.
In a contemplative fashion,
And a tranquil frame of mind,
Free from every kind of passion,
Some solution let us find.
Let us grasp the situation,
Solve the complicated plot--
Quiet, calm deliberation
Disentangles every knot.
TESS.I, no doubt, Giuseppe wedded-- THE OTHERS. In a
That's, of course, a slice of luck fashion,
He is rather dunder-headed.
Still distinctly, he's a duck.
GIA. I, a victim, too, of Cupid, THE OTHERS. Let
us grasp the
Marco married - that is clear. situation,
He's particularly stupid,
Still distinctly, he's a dear.
MAR. To Gianetta I was mated; THE OTHERS. In a
I can prove it in a trice: fashion,
Though her charms are overrated,
Still I own she's rather nice.
GIU. I to Tessa, willy-nilly, THE OTHERS. Let us
grasp the
All at once a victim fell. situation,
She is what is called a silly,
Still she answers pretty well.
MAR. Now when we were pretty babies
Some one married us, that's clear--
GIA. And if I can catch her
I'll pinch her and scratch her
And send her away with a flea in her ear.
GIU. He whom that young lady married,
To receive her can't refuse.
TESS. If I overtake her
I'll warrant I'll make her
To shake in her aristocratical shoes!
GIA. (to Tess.). If she married your Giuseppe
You and he will have to part--
TESS. (to Gia.). If I have to do it
I'll warrant she'll rue it--
I'll teach her to marry the man of my heart!
TESS. (to Gia.). If she married Messer Marco
You're a spinster, that is plain--
GIA. (to Tess.). No matter--no matter.
If I can get at her
I doubt if her mother will know her again!
ALL. Quiet, calm deliberation
Disentangles every knot!
(March. Enter procession of Retainers, heralding approach of
Duke, Duchess, and Casilda. All three are now dressed with the
utmost magnificence.)
With ducal pomp and ducal pride
(Announce these comers,
O ye kettle-drummers!)
Comes Barataria's high-born bride.
(Ye sounding cymbals clang!)
She comes to claim the Royal hand--
(Proclaim their Graces,
O ye double basses!)
Of the King who rules this goodly land.
(Ye brazen brasses bang!)
DUKE and This polite attention touches
DUCH. Heart of Duke and heart of Duchess
Who resign their pet
With profound regret.
She of beauty was a model
When a tiny tiddle-toddle,
And at twenty-one
She's excelled by none!
CHORUS. With ducal pomp and ducal pride, etc.
DUKE (to his attendants). Be good enough to inform His Majesty
that His Grace the Duke of Plaza-Toro, Limited, has arrived, and
CAS. Desires--
DUCH. Demands--
DUKE. And demands an audience. (Exeunt attendants.) And
now, my child, prepare to receive the husband to whom you were
united under such interesting and romantic circumstances.
CAS. But which is it? There are two of them!
DUKE. It is true that at present His Majesty is a double
gentleman; but as soon as the circumstances of his marriage are
ascertained, he will, ipso facto, boil down to a single
gentleman--thus presenting a unique example of an individual who
becomes a single man and a married man by the same operation.
DUCH. (severely). I have known instances in which the
characteristics of both conditions existed concurrently in the
same individual.
DUKE. Ah, he couldn't have been a Plaza-Toro.
DUCH. Oh! couldn't he, though!
CAS. Well, whatever happens, I shall, of course, be a
dutiful wife, but I can never love my husband.
DUKE. I don't know. It's extraordinary what
unprepossessing people one can love if one gives one's mind to
DUCH. I loved your father.
DUKE. My love--that remark is a little hard, I think?
Rather cruel, perhaps? Somewhat uncalled-for, I venture to
DUCH. It was very difficult, my dear; but I said to myself,
"That man is a Duke, and I will love him." Several of my
relations bet me I couldn't, but I did--desperately!
On the day when I was wedded
To your admirable sire,
I acknowledge that I dreaded
An explosion of his ire.
I was overcome with panic--
For his temper was volcanic,
And I didn't dare revolt,
For I feared a thunderbolt!
I was always very wary,
For his fury was ecstatic--
His refined vocabulary
Most unpleasantly emphatic.
To the thunder
Of this Tartar
I knocked under
Like a martyr;
When intently
He was fuming,
I was gently
When reviling
Me completely,
I was smiling
Very sweetly:
Giving him the very best, and getting back the very worst--
That is how I tried to tame your great progenitor--at first!
But I found that a reliance
On my threatening appearance,
And a resolute defiance
Of marital interference,
And a gentle intimation
Of my firm determination
To see what I could do
To be wife and husband too
Was the only thing required
For to make his temper supple,
And you couldn't have desired
A more reciprocating couple.
Ever willing
To be wooing,
We were billing--
We were cooing;
When I merely
From him parted,
We were nearly
When in sequel
We were equal-
Ly delighted.
So with double-shotted guns and colours nailed unto the mast,
I tamed your insignificant progenitor--at last!
CAS. My only hope is that when my husband sees what a shady
family he has married into he will repudiate the contract
DUKE. Shady? A nobleman shady, who is blazing in the
lustre of unaccustomed pocket-money? A nobleman shady, who can
look back upon ninety-five quarterings? It is not every nobleman
who is ninety-five quarters in arrear--I mean, who can look back
upon ninety-five of them! And this, just as I have been floated
at a premium! Oh fie!
DUCH. Your Majesty is surely unaware that directly your
Majesty's father came before the public he was applied for over
and over again.
DUKE. My dear, Her Majesty's father was in the habit of
being applied for over and over again--and very urgently applied
for, too--long before he was registered under the Limited
Liability Act.
To help unhappy commoners, and add to their enjoyment,
Affords a man of noble rank congenial employment;
Of our attempts we offer you examples illustrative:
The work is light, and, I may add, it's most remunerative.
DUKE. Small titles and orders
For Mayors and Recorders
I get--and they're highly delighted--
DUCH. They're highly delighted!
DUKE. M.P.'s baronetted,
Sham Colonels gazetted,
And second-rate Aldermen knighted--
DUCH. Yes, Aldermen knighted.
DUKE. Foundation-stone laying
I find very paying:
It adds a large sum to my makings--
DUCH. Large sums to his makings.
DUKE. At charity dinners
The best of speech-spinners,
I get ten per cent on the takings--
DUCH. One-tenth of the takings.
DUCH. I present any lady
Whose conduct is shady
Or smacking of doubtful propriety--
DUKE. Doubtful propriety.
DUCH. When Virtue would quash her,
I take and whitewash her,
And launch her in first-rate society--
DUKE. First-rate society!
DUCH. I recommend acres
Of clumsy dressmakers--
Their fit and their finishing touches--
DUKE. Their finishing touches.
DUCH. A sum in addition
They pay for permission
To say that they make for the Duchess--
DUKE. They make for the Duchess!
DUKE. Those pressing prevailers,
The ready-made tailors,
Quote me as their great double-barrel--
DUCH. Their great double-barrel--
DUKE. I allow them to do so,
Though Robinson Crusoe
Would jib at their wearing apparel--
DUCH. Such wearing apparel!
DUKE. I sit, by selection,
Upon the direction
Of several Companies bubble--
DUCH. All Companies bubble!
DUKE. As soon as they're floated
I'm freely bank-noted--
I'm pretty well paid for my trouble--
DUCH. He's paid for his trouble!
DUCH. At middle-class party
I play at ecarte--
And I'm by no means a beginner--
DUKE (significantly). She's not a beginner.
DUCH. To one of my station
The remuneration--
Five guineas a night and my dinner--
DUKE. And wine with her dinner.
DUCH. I write letters blatant
On medicines patent--
And use any other you mustn't--
DUKE. Believe me, you mustn't--
DUCH. And vow my complexion
Derives its perfection
From somebody's soap--which it doesn't--
DUKE. (significantly). It certainly doesn't!
DUKE. We're ready as witness
To any one's fitness
To fill any place or preferment--
DUCH. A place or preferment.
DUCH. We're often in waiting
At junket or feting,
And sometimes attend an interment--
DUKE. We enjoy an interment.
BOTH. In short, if you'd kindle
The spark of a swindle,
Lure simpletons into your clutches--
Yes; into your clutches.
Or hoodwink a debtor,
You cannot do better
DUCH. Than trot out a Duke or a Duchess--
DUKE. A Duke or a Duchess!
(Enter Marco and Giuseppe.)
DUKE. Ah! Their Majesties. Your Majesty! (Bows with
great ceremony.)
MAR. The Duke of Plaza-Toro, I believe?
DUKE. The same. (Marco and Giuseppe offer to shake hands
with him. The Duke bows ceremoniously. They endeavour to
imitate him.) Allow me to present--
GIU. The young lady one of us married?
(Marco and Giuseppe offer to shake hands with her. Casilda
curtsies formally. They endeavour to imitate her.)
CAS. Gentlemen, I am the most obedient servant of one of
you. (Aside.) Oh, Luiz!
DUKE. I am now about to address myself to the gentleman
whom my daughter married; the other may allow his attention to
wander if he likes, for what I am about to say does not concern
him. Sir, you will find in this young lady a combination of
excellences which you would search for in vain in any young lady
who had not the good fortune to be my daughter. There is some
little doubt as to which of you is the gentleman I am addressing,
and which is the gentleman who is allowing his attention to
wander; but when that doubt is solved, I shall say (still
addressing the attentive gentleman), "Take her, and may she make
you happier than her mother has made me."
DUCH. Sir!
DUKE. If possible. And now there is a little matter to
which I think I am entitled to take exception. I come here in
state with Her Grace the Duchess and Her Majesty my daughter, and
what do I find? Do I find, for instance, a guard of honour to
receive me? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. The town illuminated? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. Refreshment provided? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. A Royal salute fired? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. Triumphal arches erected? No!
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. The bells set ringing?
MAR. and GIU. No.
DUKE. Yes--one--the Visitors', and I rang it myself. It is
not enough! It is not enough!
GIU. Upon my honour, I'm very sorry; but you see, I was
brought up in a gondola, and my ideas of politeness are confined
to taking off my cap to my passengers when they tip me.
DUCH. That's all very well in its way, but it is not
GIU. I'll take off anything else in reason.
DUKE. But a Royal Salute to my daughter--it costs so
CAS. Papa, I don't want a salute.
GIU. My dear sir, as soon as we know which of us is
entitled to take that liberty she shall have as many salutes as
she likes.
MAR. As for guards of honour and triumphal arches, you
don't know our people--they wouldn't stand it.
GIU. They are very off-hand with us--very off-hand indeed.
DUKE. Oh, but you mustn't allow that--you must keep them in
proper discipline, you must impress your Court with your
importance. You want deportment--carriage--
GIU. We've got a carriage.
DUKE. Manner--dignity. There must be a good deal of this
sort of thing--(business)--and a little of this sort of
thing--(business)--and possibly just a Soupcon of this sort of
thing!--(business)--and so on. Oh, it's very useful, and most
effective. Just attend to me. You are a King--I am a subject.
Very good--
DUKE. I am a courtier grave and serious
Who is about to kiss your hand:
Try to combine a pose imperious
With a demeanour nobly bland.
MAR. and Let us combine a pose imperious
GIU. With a demeanour nobly bland.
(Marco and Giuseppe endeavour to carry out his instructions.)
DUKE. That's, if anything, too unbending--
Too aggressively stiff and grand;
(They suddenly modify their attitudes.)
Now to the other extreme you're tending--
Don't be so deucedly condescending!
DUCH. and Now to the other extreme you're tending--
CAS. Don't be so dreadfully condescending!
MAR. and Oh, hard to please some noblemen seem!
GIU. At first, if anything, too unbending;
Off we go to the other extreme--
Too confoundedly condescending!
DUKE. Now a gavotte perform sedately--
Offer your hand with conscious pride;
Take an attitude not too stately,
Still sufficiently dignified.
MAR. and Now for an attitude not too stately,
GIU. Still sufficiently dignified.
(They endeavour to carry out his instructions.)
DUKE (beating Oncely, twicely--oncely, twicely--
time). Bow impressively ere you glide.
do so.)
Capital both, capital
both--you've caught it nicely!
That is the style of thing precisely!
DUCH. and Capital both, capital both--they've
caught it nicely!
CAS. That is the style of thing precisely!
MAR. and Oh, sweet to earn a nobleman's praise!
GIU. Capital both, capital both--we've caught it
Supposing he's right in what he says,
This is the style of
thing precisely!
(Gavotte. At the end exeunt Duke and Duchess, leaving Casilda
with Marco and Giuseppe.)
GIU. (to Marco). The old birds have gone away and left the
young chickens together. That's called tact.
MAR. It's very awkward. We really ought to tell her how we
are situated. It's not fair to the girl.
GIU. Then why don't you do it?
MAR. I'd rather not--you.
GIU. I don't know how to begin. (To Casilda.)
Er--Madam--I--we, that is, several of us--
CAS. Gentlemen, I am bound to listen to you; but it is
right to tell you that, not knowing I was married in infancy, I
am over head and ears in love with somebody else.
GIU. Our case exactly! We are over head and ears in love
with somebody else! (Enter Gianetta and Tessa.) In point of
fact, with our wives!
CAS. Your wives! Then you are married?
TESS. It's not our fault.
GIA. We knew nothing about it.
BOTH. We are sisters in misfortune.
CAS. My good girls, I don't blame you. Only before we go
any further we must really arrive at some satisfactory
arrangement, or we shall get hopelessly complicated.
ALL. Here is a case unprecedented!
Here are a King and Queen ill-starred!
Ever since marriage was first invented
Never was known a case so hard!
MAR. and I may be said to have been bisected,
GIU. By a profound catastrophe!
CAS., GIA., Through a calamity unexpected
TESS. I am divisible into three!
ALL. O moralists all,
How can you call
Marriage a state of unitee,
When excellent husbands are bisected,
And wives divisible into three?
O moralists all,
How can you call
Marriage a state of union true?
CAS., GIA., One-third of myself is married to half of
TESS. or you,
MAR. and When half of myself has married one-third of ye
GIU. or you?
(Enter Don Alhambra, followed by Duke, Duchess, and all the
Now let the loyal lieges gather round--
The Prince's foster-mother has been found!
She will declare, to silver clarion's sound,
The rightful King--let him forthwith be crowned!
CHORUS. She will declare, etc.
(Don Alhambra brings forward Inez, the Prince's foster-mother.)
TESS. Speak, woman, speak--
DUKE. We're all attention!
GIA. The news we seek-
DUCH. This moment mention.
CAS. To us they bring--
DON AL. His foster-mother.
MAR. Is he the King?
GIU. Or this my brother?
ALL. Speak, woman, speak, etc.
The Royal Prince was by the King entrusted
To my fond care, ere I grew old and crusted;
When traitors came to steal his son reputed,
My own small boy I deftly substituted!
The villains fell into the trap completely--
I hid the Prince away--still sleeping sweetly:
I called him "son" with pardonable slyness--
His name, Luiz! Behold his Royal Highness!
(Sensation. Luiz ascends the throne, crowned and robed as King.)
CAS. (rushing to his arms). Luiz!
LUIZ. Casilda! (Embrace.)
ALL. Is this indeed the King?
Oh, wondrous revelation!
Oh, unexpected thing!
Unlooked-for situation!
MAR., GIA., This statement we receive
GIU., TESS. With sentiments conflicting;
Our hearts rejoice and grieve,
Each other contradicting;
To those whom we adore
We can be reunited--
On one point rather sore,
But, on the whole, delighted!
LUIZ. When others claimed thy dainty hand,
I waited--waited--waited,
DUKE. As prudence (so I understand)
CAS. By virtue of our early vow
DUCH. Your pure and patient love is now
ALL. Then hail, O King of a Golden Land,
And the high-born bride who claims his hand!
The past is dead, and you gain your own,
A royal crown and a golden throne!
(All kneel: Luiz crowns Casilda.)
ALL. Once more gondolieri,
Both skilful and wary,
Free from this quandary
Contented are we. Ah!
From Royalty flying,
Our gondolas plying,
And merrily crying
Our "preme," "stali!" Ah!
So good-bye, cachucha, fandango, bolero--
We'll dance a farewell to that measure--
Old Xeres, adieu--Manzanilla--Montero--
We leave you with feelings of pleasure!
by W. S. Gilbert
RUDOLPH (Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig).
ERNEST DUMMKOPF (a Theatrical Manager).
LUDWIG (his Leading Comedian).
DR. TANNHUSER (a Notary).
BEN HASHBAZ (a Costumier).
JULIA JELLICOE (an English Comdienne).
LISA (a Soubrette).
Members of Ernest Dummkopf's Company:
Chamberlains, Nobles, Actors, Actresses, etc.
ACT I.--Scene. Public Square of Speisesaal.
ACT II.--Scene. Hall in the Grand Ducal Palace.
Date 1750.
First produced at the Savoy Theatre on March 7, 1896.
SCENE.--Market-place of Speisesaal, in the Grand Duchy of Pfennig
Halbpfennig. A well, with decorated ironwork, up L.C. GRETCHEN,
theatrical company are discovered, seated at several small
tables, enjoying a repast in honour of the nuptials of LUDWIG,
his leading comedian, and LISA, his soubrette.
Won't it be a pretty wedding?
Will not Lisa look delightful?
Smiles and tears in plenty shedding--
Which in brides of course is rightful
One could say, if one were spiteful,
Contradiction little dreading,
Her bouquet is simply frightful--
Still, 'twill be a pretty wedding!
Oh, it is a pretty wedding!
Such a pretty, pretty wedding!
ELSA. If her dress is badly fitting,
Theirs the fault who made her trousseau.
BERTHA. If her gloves are always splitting,
Cheap kid gloves, we know, will do so.
OLGA. If upon her train she stumbled,
On one's train one's always treading.
GRET. If her hair is rather tumbled,
Still, 'twill be a pretty wedding!
CHORUS. Such a pretty, pretty wedding!
Here they come, the couple plighted--
On life's journey gaily start them.
Soon to be for aye united,
Till divorce or death shall part them.
(LUDWIG and LISA come forward.)
LUD. Pretty Lisa, fair and tasty,
Tell me now, and tell me truly,
Haven't you been rather hasty?
Haven't you been rash unduly?
Am I quite the dashing sposo
That your fancy could depict you?
Perhaps you think I'm only so-so?
(She expresses admiration.)
Well, I will not contradict you!
CHORUS. No, he will not contradict you!
LISA. Who am I to raise objection?
I'm a child, untaught and homely--
When you tell me you're perfection,
Tender, truthful, true, and comely--
That in quarrel no one's bolder,
Though dissensions always grieve you--
Why, my love, you're so much older
That, of course, I must believe you!
CHORUS. Yes, of course, she must believe you!
If he ever acts unkindly,
Shut your eyes and love him blindly--
Should he call you names uncomely,
Shut your mouth and love him dumbly--
Should he rate you, rightly--leftly--
Shut your ears and love him deafly.
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
Thus and thus and thus alone
Ludwig's wife may hold her own!
(LUDWIG and LISA sit at table.)
NOT. Hallo! Surely I'm not late? (All chatter
unintelligibly in reply.)
NOT. But, dear me, you're all at breakfast! Has the
wedding taken place? (All chatter unintelligibly in reply.)
NOT. My good girls, one at a time, I beg. Let me
understand the situation. As solicitor to the conspiracy to
dethrone the Grand Duke--a conspiracy in which the members of
this company are deeply involved--I am invited to the marriage of
two of its members. I present myself in due course, and I find,
not only that the ceremony has taken place--which is not of the
least consequence --but the wedding breakfast is half
eaten--which is a consideration of the most serious importance.
(LUDWIG and LISA come down.)
LUD. But the ceremony has not taken place. We can't get a
NOT. Can't get a parson! Why, how's that? They're three
LUD. Oh, it's the old story--the Grand Duke!
ALL. Ugh!
LUD. It seems that the little imp has selected this, our
wedding day, for a convocation of all the clergy in the town to
settle the details of his approaching marriage with the
enormously wealthy Baroness von Krakenfeldt, and there won't be a
parson to be had for love or money until six o'clock this
LISA. And as we produce our magnificent classical revival
of Troilus and Cressida to-night at seven, we have no alternative
but to eat our wedding breakfast before we've earned it. So sit
down, and make the best of it.
GRET. Oh, I should like to pull his Grand Ducal ears for
him, that I should! He's the meanest, the cruellest, the most
spiteful little ape in Christendom!
OLGA. Well, we shall soon be freed from his tyranny.
To-morrow the Despot is to be dethroned!
LUD. Hush, rash girl! You know not what you say.
OLGA. Don't be absurd! We're all in it--we're all tiled,
LUD. That has nothing to do with it. Know ye not that in
alluding to our conspiracy without having first given and
received the secret sign, you are violating a fundamental
principle of our Association?
By the mystic regulation
Of our dark Association,
Ere you open conversation
With another kindred soul,
You must eat a sausage-roll! (Producing one.)
ALL. You must eat a sausage-roll!
LUD. If, in turn, he eats another,
That's a sign that he's a brother--
Each may fully trust the other.
It is quaint and it is droll,
But it's bilious on the whole.
ALL. Very bilious on the whole.
LUD. It's a greasy kind of pasty,
Which, perhaps, a judgement hasty
Might consider rather tasty:
Once (to speak without disguise)
It found favour in our eyes.
ALL. It found favour in our eyes.
LUD. But when you've been six months feeding
(As we have) on this exceeding
Bilious food, it's no ill-breeding
If at these repulsive pies
Our offended gorges rise!
ALL. Our offended gorges rise!
MARTHA. Oh, bother the secret sign! I've eaten it until
I'm quite uncomfortable! I've given it six times already
to-day--and (whimpering) I can't eat any breakfast!
BERTHA. And it's so unwholesome. Why, we should all be as
yellow as frogs if it wasn't for the make-up!
LUD. All this is rank treason to the cause. I suffer as
much as any of you. I loathe the repulsive thing--I can't
contemplate it without a shudder--but I'm a conscientious
conspirator, and if you won't give the sign I will. (Eats
sausage-roll with an effort.)
LISA. Poor martyr! He's always at it, and it's a wonder
where he puts it!
NOT. Well now, about Troilus and Cressida. What do you
LUD. (struggling with his feelings). If you'll be so
obliging as to wait until I've got rid of this feeling of warm
oil at the bottom of my throat, I'll tell you all about it.
(LISA gives him some brandy.) Thank you, my love; it's gone.
Well, the piece will be produced upon a scale of unexampled
magnificence. It is confidently predicted that my appearance as
King Agamemnon, in a Louis Quatorze wig, will mark an epoch in
the theatrical annals of Pfennig Halbpfennig. I endeavoured to
persuade Ernest Dummkopf, our manager, to lend us the classical
dresses for our marriage. Think of the effect of a real Athenian
wedding procession cavorting through the streets of Speisesaal!
Torches burning--cymbals banging--flutes tootling--citharae
twanging--and a throng of fifty lovely Spartan virgins capering
before us, all down the High Street, singing "Eloia! Eloia!
Opoponax, Eloia!" It would have been tremendous!
NOT. And he declined?
LUD. He did, on the prosaic ground that it might rain, and
the ancient Greeks didn't carry umbrellas! If, as is confidently
expected, Ernest Dummkopf is elected to succeed the dethroned
one, mark any words, he will make a mess of it.
[Exit LUDWIG with LISA.
OLGA. He's sure to be elected. His entire company has
promised to plump for him on the understanding that all the
places about the Court are filled by members of his troupe,
according to professional precedence.
ERNEST enters in great excitement.
BERTHA (looking off). Here comes Ernest Dummkopf. Now we
shall know all about it!
ALL. Well--what's the news? How is the election going?
ERN. Oh, it's a certainty--a practical certainty! Two of
the candidates have been arrested for debt, and the third is a
baby in arms--so, if you keep your promises, and vote solid, I'm
cocksure of election!
OLGA. Trust to us. But you remember the conditions?
ERN. Yes--all of you shall be provided for, for life.
Every man shall be ennobled--every lady shall have unlimited
credit at the Court Milliner's, and all salaries shall be paid
weekly in advance!
GRET. Oh, it's quite clear he knows how to rule a Grand
ERN. Rule a Grand Duchy? Why, my good girl, for ten years
past I've ruled a theatrical company! A man who can do that can
rule anything!
Were I a king in very truth,
And had a son--a guileless youth--
In probable succession;
To teach him patience, teach him tact,
How promptly in a fix to act,
He should adopt, in point of fact,
A manager's profession.
To that condition he should stoop
(Despite a too fond mother),
With eight or ten "stars" in his troupe,
All jealous of each other!
Oh, the man who can rule a theatrical crew,
Each member a genius (and some of them two),
And manage to humour them, little and great,
Can govern this tuppenny State!
ALL. Oh, the man, etc.
Both A and B rehearsal slight--
They say they'll be "all right at night"
(They've both to go to school yet);
C in each act must change her dress,
D will attempt to "square the press";
E won't play Romeo unless
His grandmother plays Juliet;
F claims all hoydens as her rights
(She's played them thirty seasons);
And G must show herself in tights
For two convincing reasons--
Two very well-shaped reasons!
Oh, the man who can drive a theatrical team,
With wheelers and leaders in order supreme,
Can govern and rule, with a wave of his fin,
All Europe--with Ireland thrown in!
ALL. Oh, the man, etc.
[Exeunt all but ERNEST.
ERN. Elected by my fellow-conspirators to be Grand Duke of
Pfennig Halbpfennig as soon as the contemptible little occupant
of the historical throne is deposed--here is promotion indeed!
Why, instead of playing Troilus of Troy for a month, I shall play
Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig for a lifetime! Yet, am I
happy? No--far from happy! The lovely English comdienne--the
beautiful Julia, whose dramatic ability is so overwhelming that
our audiences forgive even her strong English accent--that rare
and radiant being treats my respectful advances with disdain
unutterable! And yet, who knows? She is haughty and ambitious,
and it may be that the splendid change in my fortunes may work a
corresponding change in her feelings towards me!
JULIA. Herr Dummkopf, a word with you, if you please.
ERN. Beautiful English maiden--
JULIA. No compliments, I beg. I desire to speak with you
on a
purely professional matter, so we will, if you please, dispense
allusions to my personal appearance, which can only tend to widen
breach which already exists between us.
ERN. (aside). My only hope shattered! The haughty
still despises me! (Aloud.) It shall be as you will.
JULIA. I understand that the conspiracy in which we are
concerned is to develop to-morrow, and that the company is likely
to elect you to the throne on the understanding that the posts
about the Court are to be filled by members of your theatrical
troupe, according to their professional importance.
ERN. That is so.
JULIA. Then all I can say is that it places me in an
extremely awkward position.
ERN. (very depressed). I don't see how it concerns you.
JULIA. Why, bless my heart, don't you see that, as your
leading lady, I am bound under a serious penalty to play the
leading part in all your productions?
ERN. Well?
JULIA. Why, of course, the leading part in this production
will be the Grand Duchess!
ERN. My wife?
JULIA. That is another way of expressing the same idea.
ERN. (aside--delighted). I scarcely dared even to hope
JULIA. Of course, as your leading lady, you'll be mean
enough to hold me to the terms of my agreement. Oh, that's so
like a man! Well, I suppose there's no help for it--I shall have
to do it!
ERN. (aside). She's mine! (Aloud.) But--do you really
think you would care to play that part? (Taking her hand.)
JULIA (withdrawing it). Care to play it? Certainly
not--but what am I to do? Business is business, and I am bound
by the terms of my agreement.
ERN. It's for a long run, mind--a run that may last many,
many years--no understudy--and once embarked upon there's no
throwing it up.
JULIA. Oh, we're used to these long runs in England: they
are the curse of the stage--but, you see, I've no option.
ERN. You think the part of Grand Duchess will be good
enough for you?
JULIA. Oh, I think so. It's a very good part in
Gerolstein, and oughtn't to be a bad one in Pfennig Halbpfennig.
Why, what did you suppose I was going to play?
ERN. (keeping up a show of reluctance) But, considering
your strong personal dislike to me and your persistent rejection
of my repeated offers, won't you find it difficult to throw
yourself into the part with all the impassioned enthusiasm that
the character seems to demand? Remember, it's a strongly
emotional part, involving long and repeated scenes of rapture,
tenderness, adoration, devotion--all in luxuriant excess, and all
of the most demonstrative description.
JULIA. My good sir, throughout my career I have made it a
rule never to allow private feeling to interfere with my
professional duties. You may be quite sure that (however
distasteful the part may be) if I undertake it, I shall consider
myself professionally bound to throw myself into it with all the
ardour at my command.
ERN. (aside--with effusion). I'm the happiest fellow
(Aloud.) Now--would you have any objection--to--to give me some
idea--if it's only a mere sketch--as to how you would play it?
It would be really interesting--to me--to know your conception
of--of--the part of my wife.
JULIA. How would I play it? Now, let me see--let me see.
(Considering.) Ah, I have it!
How would I play this part--
The Grand Duke's Bride?
All rancour in my heart
I'd duly hide--
I'd drive it from my recollection
And 'whelm you with a mock affection,
Well calculated to defy detection--
That's how I'd play this part--
The Grand Duke's Bride.
With many a winsome smile
I'd witch and woo;
With gay and girlish guile
I'd frenzy you--
I'd madden you with my caressing,
Like turtle, her first love confessing--
That it was "mock", no mortal would be
With so much winsome wile
I'd witch and woo!
Did any other maid
With you succeed,
I'd pinch the forward jade--
I would indeed!
With jealous frenzy agitated
(Which would, of course, be simulated),
I'd make her wish she'd never been created--
Did any other maid
With you succeed!
And should there come to me,
Some summers hence,
In all the childish glee
Of innocence,
Fair babes, aglow with beauty vernal,
My heart would bound with joy diurnal!
This sweet display of sympathy maternal,
Well, that would also be
A mere pretence!
My histrionic art
Though you deride,
That's how I'd play that part--
The Grand Duke's Bride!
Oh joy! when two glowing young My boy, when two
hearts, young hearts
From the rise of the curtain, From the rise of the
Thus throw themselves into their Thus throw themselves
their parts, parts,
Success is most certain! Success is most
If the role you're prepared to endow The role I'm prepared
With such delicate touches, With most delicate
By the heaven above us, I vow By the heaven above us,
You shall be my Grand Duchess! I will be your Grand
Enter all the Chorus with LUDWIG, NOTARY,
and LISA--all greatly agitated.
My goodness me! What shall we do ? Why, what a dreadful
(To LUD.) It's all your fault, you booby you--you lump of
I'm sure I don't know where to go--it's put me into such a
But this at all events I know--the sooner we are off, the
ERN. What means this agitato? What d'ye seek?
As your Grand Duke elect I bid you speak!
Ten minutes since I met a chap
Who bowed an easy salutation--
Thinks I, "This gentleman, mayhap,
Belongs to our Association."
But, on the whole,
Uncertain yet,
A sausage-roll
I took and eat--
That chap replied (I don't embellish)
By eating three with obvious relish.
CHORUS (angrily). Why, gracious powers,
No chum of ours
Could eat three sausage-rolls with relish!
LUD. Quite reassured, I let him know
Our plot--each incident explaining;
That stranger chuckled much, as though
He thought me highly entertaining.
I told him all,
Both bad and good;
I bade him call--
He said he would:
I added much--the more I muckled,
The more that chuckling chummy chuckled!
ALL (angrily). A bat could see
He couldn't be
A chum of ours if he chuckled!
LUD. Well, as I bowed to his applause,
Down dropped he with hysteric bellow--
And that seemed right enough, because
I am a devilish funny fellow.
Then suddenly,
As still he squealed,
It flashed on me
That I'd revealed
Our plot, with all details effective,
To Grand Duke Rudolph's own detective!
ALL. What folly fell,
To go and tell
Our plot to any one's detective!
(Attacking LUDWIG.) You booby dense--
You oaf immense,
With no pretence
To common sense!
A stupid muff
Who's made of stuff
Not worth a puff
Of candle-snuff!
Pack up at once and off we go, unless we're anxious to exhibit
Our fairy forms all in a row, strung up upon the Castle gibbet!
[Exeunt Chorus. Manent LUDWIG, LISA,
JULIA. Well, a nice mess you've got us into! There's an
end of our precious plot! All up--pop--fizzle--bang--done for!
LUD. Yes, but--ha! ha!--fancy my choosing the Grand Duke's
private detective, of all men, to make a confidant of! When you
come to think of it, it's really devilish funny!
ERN. (angrily). When you come to think of it, it's
extremely injudicious to admit into a conspiracy every
pudding-headed baboon who presents himself!
LUD. Yes--I should never do that. If I were chairman of
this gang, I should hesitate to enrol any baboon who couldn't
produce satisfactory credentials from his last Zoological
LISA. Ludwig is far from being a baboon. Poor boy, he
could not help giving us away--it's his trusting nature--he was
JULIA (furiously). His trusting nature! (To LUDWIG.) Oh,
I should like to talk to you in my own language for five
minutes--only five minutes! I know some good, strong, energetic
English remarks that would shrivel your trusting nature into
raisins--only you wouldn't understand them!
LUD. Here we perceive one of the disadvantages of a
neglected education!
ERN. (to JULIA). And I suppose you'll never be my Grand
Duchess now!
JULIA. Grand Duchess? My good friend, if you don't
the piece how can I play the part?
ERN. True. (To LUDWIG.) You see what you've done.
LUD. But, my dear sir, you don't seem to understand that
the man ate three sausage-rolls. Keep that fact steadily before
you. Three large sausage-rolls.
JULIA. Bah!--Lots of people eat sausage-rolls who are not
LUD. Then they shouldn't. It's bad form. It's not the
game. When one of the Human Family proposes to eat a
sausage-roll, it is his duty to ask himself, "Am I a
conspirator?" And if, on examination, he finds that he is not a
conspirator, he is bound in honour to select some other form of
LISA. Of course he is. One should always play the game.
(To NOTARY, who has been smiling placidly through this.) What
are you grinning at, you greedy old man?
NOT. Nothing--don't mind me. It is always amusing to the
legal mind to see a parcel of laymen bothering themselves about a
matter which to a trained lawyer presents no difficulty whatever.
ALL. No difficulty!
NOT. None whatever! The way out of it is quite simple.
ALL. Simple?
NOT. Certainly! Now attend. In the first place, you two
men fight a Statutory Duel.
ERN. A Statutory Duel?
JULIA. A Stat-tat-tatutory Duel! Ach! what a crack-jaw
language this German is!
LUD. Never heard of such a thing.
NOT. It is true that the practice has fallen into abeyance
through disuse. But all the laws of Pfennig Halbpfennig run for
a hundred years, when they die a natural death, unless, in the
meantime, they have been revived for another century. The Act
that institutes the Statutory Duel was passed a hundred years
ago, and as it has never been revived, it expires to-morrow. So
you're just in time.
JULIA. But what is the use of talking to us about
Duels when we none of us know what a Statutory Duel is?
NOT. Don't you? Then I'll explain.
About a century since,
The code of the duello
To sudden death
For want of breath
Sent many a strapping fellow.
The then presiding Prince
(Who useless bloodshed hated),
He passed an Act,
Short and compact,
Which may be briefly stated.
Unlike the complicated laws
A Parliamentary draftsman draws,
It may be briefly stated.
ALL. We know that complicated laws,
Such as a legal draftsman draws,
Cannot be briefly stated.
NOT. By this ingenious law,
If any two shall quarrel,
They may not fight
With falchions bright
(Which seemed to him immoral);
But each a card shall draw,
And he who draws the lowest
Shall (so 'twas said)
Be thenceforth dead--
In fact, a legal "ghoest"
(When exigence of rhyme compels,
Orthography forgoes her spells,
And "ghost" is written "ghoest").
ALL (aside) With what an emphasis he dwells
Upon "orthography" and "spells"!
That kind of fun's the lowest.
NOT. When off the loser's popped
(By pleasing legal fiction),
And friend and foe
Have wept their woe
In counterfeit affliction,
The winner must adopt
The loser's poor relations--
Discharge his debts,
Pay all his bets,
And take his obligations.
In short, to briefly sum the case,
The winner takes the loser's place,
With all its obligations.
ALL. How neatly lawyers state a case!
The winner takes the loser's place,
With all its obligations!
LUD. I see. The man who draws the lowest card--
NOT. Dies, ipso facto, a social death. He loses all his
civil rights--his identity disappears--the Revising Barrister
expunges his name from the list of voters, and the winner takes
his place, whatever it may be, discharges all his functions, and
adopts all his responsibilities.
ERN. This is all very well, as far as it goes, but it only
protects one of us. What's to become of the survivor?
LUD. Yes, that's an interesting point, because I might be
the survivor.
NOT. The survivor goes at once to the Grand Duke, and, in
burst of remorse, denounces the dead man as the moving spirit of
the plot. He is accepted as King's evidence, and, as a matter of
course, receives a free pardon. To-morrow, when the law expires,
the dead man will, ipso facto, come to life again--the Revising
Barrister will restore his name to the list of voters, and he
will resume all his obligations as though nothing unusual had
JULIA. When he will be at once arrested, tried, and
executed on the evidence of the informer! Candidly, my friend, I
don't think much of your plot!
NOT. Dear, dear, dear, the ignorance of the laity! My
young lady, it is a beautiful maxim of our glorious Constitution
that a man can only die once. Death expunges crime, and when he
comes to life again, it will be with a clean slate.
ERN. It's really very ingenious.
LUD. (to NOTARY). My dear sir, we owe you our lives!
LISA (aside to LUDWIG). May I kiss him?
LUD. Certainly not: you're a big girl now. (To ERNEST.)
Well, miscreant, are you prepared to meet me on the field of
ERN. At once. By Jove, what a couple of fire-eaters we
LISA. Ludwig doesn't know what fear is.
LUD. Oh, I don't mind this sort of duel!
ERN. It's not like a duel with swords. I hate a duel with
swords. It's not the blade I mind--it's the blood.
LUD. And I hate a duel with pistols. It's not the ball I
mind--it's the bang.
NOT. Altogether it is a great improvement on the old
of giving satisfaction.
Strange the views some people hold!
Two young fellows quarrel--
Then they fight, for both are bold--
Rage of both is uncontrolled--
Both are stretched out, stark and cold!
Prithee, where's the moral?
Ding dong! Ding dong!
There's an end to further action,
And this barbarous transaction
Is described as "satisfaction"!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! satisfaction!
Ding dong! Ding dong!
Each is laid in churchyard mould--
Strange the views some people hold!
Better than the method old,
Which was coarse and cruel,
Is the plan that we've extolled.
Sing thy virtues manifold
(Better than refined gold),
Statutory Duel!
Sing song! Sing song!
Sword or pistol neither uses--
Playing card he lightly chooses,
And the loser simply loses!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! simply loses.
Sing song! Sing song!
Some prefer the churchyard mould!
Strange the views some people hold!
NOT. (offering a card to ERNEST).
Now take a card and gaily sing
How little you care for Fortune's rubs--
ERN. (drawing a card).
Hurrah, hurrah!--I've drawn a King:
ALL. He's drawn a King!
He's drawn a King!
Sing Hearts and Diamonds, Spades and Clubs!
ALL (dancing). He's drawn a King!
How strange a thing!
An excellent card--his chance it aids--
Sing Hearts and Diamonds, Spades and Clubs--
Sing Diamonds, Hearts and Clubs and Spades!
Now take a card with heart of grace--
(Whatever our fate, let's play our parts).
LUD. (drawing card).
Hurrah, hurrah!--I've drawn an Ace!
ALL. He's drawn an Ace!
He's drawn an Ace!
Sing Clubs and Diamonds, Spades and Hearts!
ALL (dancing).
He's drawn an Ace!
Observe his face--
Such very good fortune falls to few--
Sing Clubs and Diamonds, Spades and Hearts--
Sing Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds too!
NOT. That both these maids may keep their troth,
And never misfortune them befall,
I'll hold 'em as trustee for both--
ALL. He'll hold 'em both!
He'll hold 'em both!
Sing Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades and all!
ALL (dancing). By joint decree
As {our/your} trustee
This Notary {we/you} will now instal--
In custody let him keep {their/our} hearts,
Sing Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades and all!
[Dance and exeunt LUDWIG, ERNEST, and
NOTARY with the two Girls.
March. Enter the seven Chamberlains of the
The good Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig,
Though, in his own opinion, very very big,
In point of fact he's nothing but a miserable prig
Is the good Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig!
Though quite contemptible, as every one agrees,
We must dissemble if we want our bread and cheese,
So hail him in a chorus, with enthusiasm big,
The good Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig!
Enter the GRAND DUKE RUDOLPH. He is meanly and miserably dressed
in old and patched clothes, but blazes with a profusion of
orders and decorations. He is very weak and ill, from low
A pattern to professors of monarchical autonomy,
I don't indulge in levity or compromising bonhomie,
But dignified formality, consistent with economy,
Above all other virtues I particularly prize.
I never join in merriment--I don't see joke or jape any--
I never tolerate familiarity in shape any--
This, joined with an extravagant respect for
A keynote to my character sufficiently supplies.
(Speaking.) Observe. (To Chamberlains.) My snuff-box!
(The snuff-box is passed with much ceremony from the Junior
Chamberlain, through all the others, until it is presented
by the Senior Chamberlain to RUDOLPH, who uses it.)
That incident a keynote to my character supplies.
RUD. I weigh out tea and sugar with precision mathematical--
Instead of beer, a penny each--my orders are emphatical--
(Extravagance unpardonable, any more than that I call),
But, on the other hand, my Ducal dignity to keep--
All Courtly ceremonial--to put it comprehensively--
I rigidly insist upon (but not, I hope, offensively)
Whenever ceremonial can be practised inexpensively--
And, when you come to think of it, it's really very
(Speaking.) Observe. (To Chamberlains.) My handkerchief!
(Handkerchief is handed by Junior Chamberlain to the next in
order, and so on until it reaches RUDOLPH, who is much
inconvenienced by the delay.)
It's sometimes inconvenient, but it's always very cheap!
RUD. My Lord Chamberlain, as you are aware, my marriage
with the wealthy Baroness von Krakenfeldt will take place
to-morrow, and you will be good enough to see that the rejoicings
are on a scale of unusual liberality. Pass that on. (Chamberlain
whispers to Vice-Chamberlain, who whispers to the next, and so
on.) The sports will begin with a Wedding Breakfast Bee. The
leading pastry-cooks of the town will be invited to compete, and
the winner will not only enjoy the satisfaction of seeing his
breakfast devoured by the Grand Ducal pair, but he will also be
entitled to have the Arms of Pfennig Halbpfennig tattoo'd between
his shoulder-blades. The Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. All
the public fountains of Speisesaal will run with Gingerbierheim
and Currantweinmilch at the public expense. The Assistant
Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. At night, everybody will
illuminate; and as I have no desire to tax the public funds
unduly, this will be done at the inhabitants' private expense.
The Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. All my
Grand Ducal subjects will wear new clothes, and the Sub-Deputy
Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will collect the usual commission on
all sales. Wedding presents (which, on this occasion, should be
on a scale of extraordinary magnificence) will be received at the
Palace at any hour of the twenty-four, and the Temporary
Sub-Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will sit up all night for
this purpose. The entire population will be commanded to enjoy
themselves, and with this view the Acting Temporary Sub-Deputy
Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will sing comic songs in the
Market-place from noon to nightfall. Finally, we have composed a
Wedding Anthem, with which the entire population are required to
provide themselves. It can be obtained from our Grand Ducal
publishers at the usual discount price, and all the Chamberlains
will be expected to push the sale. (Chamberlains bow and
exeunt). I don't feel at all comfortable. I hope I'm not doing
a foolish thing in getting married. After all, it's a poor heart
that never rejoices, and this wedding of mine is the first little
treat I've allowed myself since my christening. Besides,
Caroline's income is very considerable, and as her ideas of
economy are quite on a par with mine, it ought to turn out well.
Bless her tough old heart, she's a mean little darling! Oh, here
she is, punctual to her appointment!
BAR. Rudolph! Why, what's the matter?
RUD. Why, I'm not quite myself, my pet. I'm a little
worried and upset. I want a tonic. It's the low diet, I think.
I am afraid, after all, I shall have to take the bull by the
horns and have an egg with my breakfast.
BAR. I shouldn't do anything rash, dear. Begin with a
jujube. (Gives him one.)
RUD. (about to eat it, but changes his mind). I'll keep it
for supper. (He sits by her and tries to put his arm round her
BAR. Rudolph, don't! What in the world are you thinking
RUD. I was thinking of embracing you, my sugarplum. Just
as a little cheap treat.
BAR. What, here? In public? Really, you appear to have
sense of delicacy.
RUD. No sense of delicacy, Bon-bon!
BAR. No. I can't make you out. When you courted me, all
your courting was done publicly in the Marketplace. When you
proposed to me, you proposed in the Market-place. And now that
we're engaged you seem to desire that our first tteoccur
in the Marketplace! Surely you've a room in your
Palace--with blinds--that would do?
RUD. But, my own, I can't help myself. I'm bound by my
BAR. Your own decree?
RUD. Yes. You see, all the houses that give on the
Market-place belong to me, but the drains (which date back to the
reign of Charlemagne) want attending to, and the houses wouldn't
let--so, with a view to increasing the value of the property, I
decreed that all love-episodes between affectionate couples
should take place, in public, on this spot, every Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday, when the band doesn't play.
BAR. Bless me, what a happy idea! So moral too! And have
you found it answer?
RUD. Answer? The rents have gone up fifty per cent, and
the sale of opera-glasses (which is a Grand Ducal monopoly) has
received an extraordinary stimulus! So, under the circumstances,
would you allow me to put my arm round your waist? As a source
of income. Just once!
BAR. But it's so very embarrassing. Think of the
RUD. My good girl, that's just what I am thinking of.
it all, we must give them something for their money! What's
BAR. (unfolding paper, which contains a large letter,
she hands to him). It's a letter which your detective asked me
to hand to you. I wrapped it up in yesterday's paper to keep it
RUD. Oh, it's only his report! That'll keep. But, I say,
you've never been and bought a newspaper?
BAR. My dear Rudolph, do you think I'm mad? It came
wrapped round my breakfast.
RUD. (relieved). I thought you were not the sort of girl
go and buy a newspaper! Well, as we've got it, we may as well
read it. What does it say?
BAR. Why--dear me--here's your biography! "Our Detested
RUD. Yes--I fancy that refers to me.
BAR. And it says--Oh, it can't be!
RUD. What can't be?
BAR. Why, it says that although you're going to marry me
to-morrow, you were betrothed in infancy to the Princess of Monte
RUD. Oh yes--that's quite right. Didn't I mention it?
BAR. Mention it! You never said a word about it!
RUD. Well, it doesn't matter, because, you see, it's
practically off.
BAR. Practically off?
RUD. Yes. By the terms of the contract the betrothal is
void unless the Princess marries before she is of age. Now, her
father, the Prince, is stony-broke, and hasn't left his house for
years for fear of arrest. Over and over again he has implored me
to come to him to be married-but in vain. Over and over again he
has implored me to advance him the money to enable the Princess
to come to me--but in vain. I am very young, but not as young as
that; and as the Princess comes of age at two tomorrow, why at
two to-morrow I'm a free man, so I appointed that hour for our
wedding, as I shall like to have as much marriage as I can get
for my money.
BAR. I see. Of course, if the married state is a happy
state, it's a pity to waste any of it.
RUD. Why, every hour we delayed I should lose a lot of you
and you'd lose a lot of me!
BAR. My thoughtful darling! Oh, Rudolph, we ought to be
very happy!
RUD. If I'm not, it'll be my first bad investment. Still,
there is such a thing as a slump even in Matrimonials.
BAR. I often picture us in the long, cold, dark December
evenings, sitting close to each other and singing impassioned
duets to keep us warm, and thinking of all the lovely things we
could afford to buy if we chose, and, at the same time, planning
out our lives in a spirit of the most rigid and exacting economy!
RUD. It's a most beautiful and touching picture of
connubial bliss in its highest and most rarefied development!
BAR. As o'er our penny roll we sing,
It is not reprehensive
To think what joys our wealth would bring
Were we disposed to do the thing
Upon a scale extensive.
There's rich mock-turtle--thick and clear--
RUD. (confidentially). Perhaps we'll have it once a year!
BAR. (delighted). You are an open-handed dear!
RUD. Though, mind you, it's expensive.
BAR. No doubt it is expensive.
BOTH. How fleeting are the glutton's joys!
With fish and fowl he lightly toys,
RUD. And pays for such expensive tricks
Sometimes as much as two-and-six!
BAR. As two-and-six?
RUD. As two-and-six--
BOTH. Sometimes as much as two-and-six!
BAR. It gives him no advantage, mind--
For you and he have only dined,
And you remain when once it's down
A better man by half-a-crown.
RUD. By half-a-crown?
BAR. By half-a-crown.
BOTH. Yes, two-and-six is half-a-crown.
Then let us be modestly merry,
And rejoice with a derry down derry.
For to laugh and to sing
No extravagance bring--
It's a joy economical, very!
BAR. Although as you're of course aware
(I never tried to hide it)
I moisten my insipid fare
With water--which I can't abear--
RUD. Nor I--I can't abide it.
BAR. This pleasing fact our souls will cheer,
With fifty thousand pounds a year
We could indulge in table beer!
RUD. Get out!
BAR. We could--I've tried it!
RUD. Yes, yes, of course you've tried it!
BOTH. Oh, he who has an income clear
Of fifty thousand pounds a year--
BAR. Can purchase all his fancy loves
Conspicuous hats--
RUD. Two shilling gloves--
BAR. (doubtfully). Two-shilling gloves?
RUD. (positively). Two-shilling gloves--
BOTH. Yes, think of that, two-shilling gloves!
BAR. Cheap shoes and ties of gaudy hue,
And Waterbury watches, too--
And think that he could buy the lot
Were he a donkey--
RUD. Which he's not!
BAR. Oh no, he's not!
RUD. Oh no, he's not!
BOTH (dancing).
That kind of donkey he is not!
Then let us be modestly merry,
And rejoice with a derry down derry.
For to laugh and to sing
Is a rational thing-
It's a joy economical, very!
RUD. Oh, now for my detective's report. (Opens letter.)
What's this! Another conspiracy! A conspiracy to depose me!
And my private detective was so convulsed with laughter at the
notion of a conspirator selecting him for a confidant that he was
physically unable to arrest the malefactor! Why, it'll come
off! This comes of engaging a detective with a keen sense of the
ridiculous! For the future I'll employ none but Scotchmen. And
the plot is to explode to-morrow! My wedding day! Oh,
Caroline, Caroline! (Weeps.) This is perfectly frightful!
What's to be done? I don't know! I ought to keep cool and
think, but you can't think when your veins are full of hot
soda-water, and your brain's fizzing like a firework, and all
your faculties are jumbled in a perfect whirlpool of
tumblication! And I'm going to be ill! I know I am! I've been
living too low, and I'm going to be very ill indeed!
When you find you're a broken-down critter,
Who is all of a trimmle and twitter,
With your palate unpleasantly bitter,
As if you'd just eaten a pill--
When your legs are as thin as dividers,
And you're plagued with unruly insiders,
And your spine is all creepy with spiders,
And you're highly gamboge in the gill--
When you've got a beehive in your head,
And a sewing machine in each ear,
And you feel that you've eaten your bed,
And you've got a bad headache down here--
When such facts are about,
And these symptoms you find
In your body or crown--
Well, you'd better look out,
You may make up your mind
You had better lie down!
When your lips are all smeary--like tallow,
And your tongue is decidedly yallow,
With a pint of warm oil in your swallow,
And a pound of tin-tacks in your chest--
When you're down in the mouth with the vapours,
And all over your Morris wall-papers
Black-beetles are cutting their capers,
And crawly things never at rest--
When you doubt if your head is your own,
And you jump when an open door slams--
Then you've got to a state which is known
To the medical world as "jim-jams"
If such symptoms you find
In your body or head,
They're not easy to quell--
You may make up your mind
You are better in bed,
For you're not at all well!
(Sinks exhausted and weeping at foot of well.)
LUD. Now for my confession and full pardon. They told me
the Grand Duke was dancing duets in the Market-place, but I don't
see him. (Sees RUDOLPH.) Hallo! Who's this? (Aside.) Why, it
is the Grand Duke!
RUD. (sobbing). Who are you, sir, who presume to address
me in person? If you've anything to communicate, you must fling
yourself at the feet of my Acting Temporary Sub-Deputy Assistant
Vice-Chamberlain, who will fling himself at the feet of his
immediate superior, and so on, with successive foot-flingings
through the various grades--your communication will, in course of
time, come to my august knowledge.
LUD. But when I inform your Highness that in me you see
most unhappy, the most unfortunate, the most completely miserable
man in your whole dominion--
RUD. (still sobbing). You the most miserable man in my
whole dominion? How can you have the face to stand there and say
such a thing? Why, look at me! Look at me! (Bursts into
LUD. Well, I wouldn't be a cry-baby.
RUD. A cry-baby? If you had just been told that you were
going to be deposed to-morrow, and perhaps blown up with dynamite
for all I know, wouldn't you be a cry-baby? I do declare if I
could only hit upon some cheap and painless method of putting an
end to an existence which has become insupportable, I would
unhesitatingly adopt it!
LUD. You would ? (Aside.) I see a magnificent way out of
this! By Jupiter, I'll try it! (Aloud.) Are you, by any
chance, in earnest?
RUD. In earnest? Why, look at me!
LUD. If you are really in earnest--if you really desire to
escape scot-free from this impending--this unspeakably horrible
catastrophe--without trouble, danger, pain, or expense--why not
resort to a Statutory Duel?
RUD. A Statutory Duel?
LUD. Yes. The Act is still in force, but it will expire
to-morrow afternoon. You fight--you lose--you are dead for a
day. To-morrow, when the Act expires, you will come to life
again and resume your Grand Duchy as though nothing had happened.
In the meantime, the explosion will have taken place and the
survivor will have had to bear the brunt of it.
RUD. Yes, that's all very well, but who'll be fool enough
to be the survivor?
LUD. (kneeling). Actuated by an overwhelming sense of
attachment to your Grand Ducal person, I unhesitatingly offer
myself as the victim of your subjects' fury.
RUD. You do? Well, really that's very handsome. I
being blown up is not nearly as unpleasant as one would think.
LUD. Oh, yes it is. It mixes one up, awfully!
RUD. But suppose I were to lose?
LUD. Oh, that's easily arranged. (Producing cards.) I'll
put an Ace up my sleeve--you'll put a King up yours. When the
drawing takes place, I shall seem to draw the higher card and you
the lower. And there you are!
RUD. Oh, but that's cheating.
LUD. So it is. I never thought of that. (Going.)
RUD. (hastily). Not that I mind. But I say--you won't
take an unfair advantage of your day of office? You won't go
tipping people, or squandering my little savings in fireworks, or
any nonsense of that sort?
LUD. I am hurt--really hurt--by the suggestion.
RUD. You--you wouldn't like to put down a deposit,
LUD. No. I don't think I should like to put down a
RUD. Or give a guarantee?
LUD. A guarantee would be equally open to objection.
RUD. It would be more regular. Very well, I suppose you
must have your own way.
LUD. Good. I say--we must have a devil of a quarrel!
RUD. Oh, a devil of a quarrel!
LUD. Just to give colour to the thing. Shall I give you a
sound thrashing before all the people? Say the word--it's no
RUD. No, I think not, though it would be very convincing
and it's extremely good and thoughtful of you to suggest it.
Still, a devil of a quarrel!
LUD. Oh, a devil of a quarrel!
RUD. No half measures. Big words--strong language--rude
remarks. Oh, a devil of a quarrel!
LUD. Now the question is, how shall we summon the people?
RUD. Oh, there's no difficulty about that. Bless your
heart, they've been staring at us through those windows for the
last half-hour!
RUD. Come hither, all you people--
When you hear the fearful news,
All the pretty women weep'll,
Men will shiver in their shoes.
LUD. And they'll all cry "Lord, defend us!"
When they learn the fact tremendous
That to give this man his gruel
In a Statutory Duel--
BOTH. This plebeian man of shoddy--
This contemptible nobody--
Your Grand Duke does not refuse!
(During this, Chorus of men and women have entered, all trembling
with apprehension under the impression that they are to be
arrested for their complicity in the conspiracy.)
With faltering feet,
And our muscles in a quiver,
Our fate we meet
With our feelings all unstrung!
If our plot complete
He has managed to diskiver,
There is no retreat--
We shall certainly be hung!
RUD. (aside to LUDWIG).
Now you begin and pitch it strong--walk into me abusively--
LUD. (aside to RUDOLPH).
I've several epithets that I've reserved for you
A choice selection I have here when you are ready to begin.
RUD. Now you begin
LUD. No, you begin--
RUD. No, you begin--
LUD. No, you begin!
CHORUS (trembling).
Has it happed as we expected?
Is our little plot detected?
RUD. (furiously).
Big bombs, small bombs, great guns and little ones!
Put him in a pillory!
Rack him with artillery!
LUD. (furiously).
Long swords, short swords, tough swords and brittle ones!
Fright him into fits!
Blow him into bits!
RUD. You muff, sir!
LUD. You lout, sir!
RUD. Enough, sir!
LUD. Get out, sir! (Pushes him.)
RUD. A hit, sir?
LUD. Take that, sir! (Slaps him.)
RUD. It's tit, sir,
LUD. For tat, sir!
CHORUS (appalled).
When two doughty heroes thunder,
All the world is lost in wonder;
When such men their temper lose,
Awful are the words they use!
LUD. Tall snobs, small snobs, rich snobs and needy ones!
RUD. (jostling him). Whom are you alluding to?
LUD. (jostling him). Where are you intruding to?
RUD. Fat snobs, thin snobs, swell snobs and seedy ones!
LUD. I rather think you err.
To whom do you refer?
RUD. To you, sir!
LUD. To me, sir?
RUD. I do, sir!
LUD. We'll see, sir!
RUD. I jeer, sir!
(Makes a face at LUDWIG.) Grimace, sir!
LUD. Look here, sir--
(Makes a face at RUDOLPH.) A face, sir!
CHORUS (appalled).
When two heroes, once pacific,
Quarrel, the effect's terrific!
What a horrible grimace!
What a paralysing face!
ALL. Big bombs, small bombs, etc.
LUD. and RUD. (recit.).
He has insulted me, and, in a breath,
This day we fight a duel to the death!
NOT. (checking them).
You mean, of course, by duel (verbum sat.),
A Statutory Duel.
ALL. Why, what's that?
NOT. According to established legal uses,
A card apiece each bold disputant chooses--
Dead as a doornail is the dog who loses--
The winner steps into the dead man's shoeses!
ALL. The winner steps into the dead man's shoeses!
RUD. and Lud. Agreed! Agreed!
RUD. Come, come--the pack!
LUD. (producing one). Behold it here!
RUD. I'm on the rack!
LUD. I quake with fear!
(NOTARY offers card to LUDWIG.)
LUD. First draw to you!
RUD. If that's the case,
Behold the King! (Drawing card from his sleeve.)
LUD. (same business). Behold the Ace!
CHORUS. Hurrah, hurrah! Our Ludwig's won
And wicked Rudolph's course is run--
So Ludwig will as Grand Duke reign
Till Rudolph comes to life again--
RUD. Which will occur to-morrow!
I come to life to-morrow!
GRET. (with mocking curtsey).
My Lord Grand Duke, farewell!
A pleasant journey, very,
To your convenient cell
In yonder cemetery!
LISA (curtseying).
Though malcontents abuse you,
We're much distressed to lose you!
You were, when you were living,
So liberal, so forgiving!
BERTHA. So merciful, so gentle!
So highly ormamental!
OLGA. And now that you've departed,
You leave us broken-hearted!
ALL (pretending to weep). Yes, truly, truly, truly, truly--
Truly broken-hearted!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! (Mocking him.)
RUD. (furious). Rapscallions, in penitential fires,
You'll rue the ribaldry that from you falls!
To-morrow afternoon the law expires.
And then--look out for squalls!
[Exit RUDOLPH, amid general
CHORUS. Give thanks, give thanks to wayward fate--
By mystic fortune's sway,
Our Ludwig guides the helm of State
For one delightful day!
(To LUDWIG.) We hail you, sir!
We greet you, sir!
Regale you, sir!
We treat you, sir!
Our ruler be
By fate's decree
For one delightful day!
NOT. You've done it neatly! Pity that your powers
Are limited to four-and-twenty hours!
LUD. No matter, though the time will quickly run,
In hours twenty-four much may be done!
Oh, a Monarch who boasts intellectual graces
Can do, if he likes, a good deal in a day--
He can put all his friends in conspicuous places,
With plenty to eat and with nothing to pay!
You'll tell me, no doubt, with unpleasant grimaces,
To-morrow, deprived of your ribbons and laces,
You'll get your dismissal--with very long faces--
But wait! on that topic I've something to say!
(Dancing.) I've something to say--I've something to
say--I've something to say!
Oh, our rule shall be merry--I'm not an ascetic--
And while the sun shines we will get up our hay--
By a pushing young Monarch, of turn energetic,
A very great deal may be done in a day!
CHORUS. Oh, his rule will be merry, etc.
(During this, LUDWIG whispers to NOTARY, who writes.)
For instance, this measure (his ancestor drew it),
(alluding to NOTARY)
This law against duels--to-morrow will die--
The Duke will revive, and you'll certainly rue it--
He'll give you "what for" and he'll let you know why!
But in twenty-four hours there's time to renew it--
With a century's life I've the right to imbue it--
It's easy to do--and, by Jingo, I'll do it!
(Signing paper, which NOTARY presents.)
It's done! Till I perish your Monarch am I!
Your Monarch am I--your Monarch am I--your Monarch am I!
Though I do not pretend to be very prophetic,
I fancy I know what you're going to say--
By a pushing young Monarch, of turn energetic,
A very great deal may be done in a day!
ALL (astonished).
Oh, it's simply uncanny, his power prophetic--
It's perfectly right--we were going to say,
By a pushing, etc.
Enter JULIA, at back.
LUD. (recit.). This very afternoon--at two (about)--
The Court appointments will be given out.
To each and all (for that was the condition)
According to professional position!
ALL. Hurrah!
JULIA (coming forward). According to professional position?
LUD. According to professional position!
JULIA Then, horror!
ALL. Why, what's the matter? What's the matter? What's the
matter ?
SONG--JULIA. (LISA clinging to her.)
Ah, pity me, my comrades true,
Who love, as well I know you do,
This gentle child,
To me so fondly dear!
ALL. Why, what's the matter?
JULIA Our sister love so true and deep
From many an eye unused to weep
Hath oft beguiled
The coy reluctant tear!
ALL. Why, what's the matter?
JULIA Each sympathetic heart 'twill bruise
When you have heard the frightful news
(O will it not?)
That I must now impart!
ALL. Why, what's the matter?
JULIA. Her love for him is all in all!
Ah, cursed fate! that it should fall
Unto my lot
To break my darling's heart!
ALL. Why, what's the matter?
LUD. What means our Julia by those fateful looks?
Please do not keep us all on tenter-hooks-
Now, what's the matter?
JULIA. Our duty, if we're wise,
We never shun.
This Spartan rule applies
To every one.
In theatres, as in life,
Each has her line--
This part--the Grand Duke's wife
(Oh agony!) is mine!
A maxim new I do not start--
The canons of dramatic art
Decree that this repulsive part
(The Grand Duke's wife)
Is mine!
ALL. Oh, that's the matter!
LISA (appalled, to LUDWIG). Can that be so?
LUD. I do not know--
But time will show
If that be so.
CHORUS. Can that be so? etc.
LISA (recit.). Be merciful!
LISA. Oh, listen to me, dear--
I love him only, darling!
Remember, oh, my pet,
On him my heart is set
This kindness do me, dear-
Nor leave me lonely, darling!
Be merciful, my pet,
Our love do not forget!
JULIA. Now don't be foolish, dear--
You couldn't play it, darling!
It's "leading business", pet
And you're but a soubrette.
So don't be mulish, dear-
Although I say it, darling,
It's not your line, my pet--
I play that part, you bet!
I play that part--
I play that part, you bet!
(LISA overwhelmed with grief.)
NOT. The lady's right. Though Julia's engagement
Was for the stage meant--
It certainly frees Ludwig from his
Connubial promise.
Though marriage contracts--or whate'er you call 'em--
Are very solemn,
Dramatic contracts (which you all adore so)
Are even more so!
ALL. That's very true!
Though marriage contracts, etc.
The die is cast,
My hope has perished!
Farewell, O Past,
Too bright to last,
Yet fondly cherished!
My light has fled,
My hope is dead,
Its doom is spoken--
My day is night,
My wrong is right
In all men's sight--
My heart is broken!
LUD. (recit.). Poor child, where will she go? What will she
JULIA. That isn't in your part, you know.
LUD. (sighing). Quite true!
(With an effort.) Depressing topics we'll not touch upon--
Let us begin as we are going on!
For this will be a jolly Court, for little and for big!
ALL. Sing hey, the jolly jinks of Pfennig Halbpfennig!
LUD. From morn to night our lives shall be as merry as a grig!
ALL. Sing hey, the jolly jinks of Pfennig Halbpfennig!
LUD. All state and ceremony we'll eternally abolish--
We don't mean to insist upon unnecessary polish--
And, on the whole, I rather think you'll find our rule
ALL. Sing hey, the jolly jinks of Pfennig Halbpfennig!
JULIA. But stay--your new-made Court
Without a courtly coat is--
We shall require
Some Court attire,
And at a moment's notice.
In clothes of common sort
Your courtiers must not grovel--
Your new noblesse
Must have a dress
Original and novel!
LUD. Old Athens we'll exhume!
The necessary dresses,
Correct and true
And all brand-new,
The company possesses:
Henceforth our Court costume
Shall live in song and story,
For we'll upraise
The dead old days
Of Athens in her glory!
ALL. Yes, let's upraise
The dead old days
Of Athens in her glory!
ALL. Agreed! Agreed!
For this will be a jolly Court for little and for big! etc
(They carry LUDWIG round stage and deposit him on the ironwork of
well. JULIA stands by him, and the rest group round them.)
SCENE.--Entrance Hall of the Grand Ducal Palace.
Enter a procession of the members of the theatrical company (now
dressed in the costumes of Troilus and Cressida), carrying
garlands, playing on pipes, citharae, and cymbals, and
heralding the return of LUDWIG and JULIA from the marriage
ceremony, which has just taken place.
As before you we defile,
Eloia! Eloia!
Pray you, gentles, do not smile
If we shout, in classic style,
Ludwig and his Julia true
Wedded are each other to--
So we sing, till all is blue,
Eloia! Eloia!
Opoponax! Eloia!
Wreaths of bay and ivy twine,
Eloia! Eloia!
Fill the bowl with Lesbian wine,
And to revelry incline--
For as gaily we pass on
Probably we shall, anon,
Sing a Diergeticon--
Eloia! Eloia!
Opoponax! Eloia!
Your loyalty our Ducal heartstrings touches:
Allow me to present your new Grand Duchess.
Should she offend, you'll graciously excuse her--
And kindly recollect I didn't choose her!
At the outset I may mention it's my sovereign intention
To revive the classic memories of Athens at its best,
For the company possesses all the necessary dresses
And a course of quiet cramming will supply us with the
We've a choir hyporchematic (that is, ballet-operatic)
Who respond to the choreut of that cultivated age,
And our clever chorus-master, all but captious criticaster
Would accept as the choregus of the early Attic stage.
This return to classic ages is considered in their wages,
Which are always calculated by the day or by the week--
And I'll pay 'em (if they'll back me) all in oboloi and drachm,
Which they'll get (if they prefer it) at the Kalends that
are Greek!
(Confidentially to audience.)
At this juncture I may mention
That this erudition sham
Is but classical pretension,
The result of steady "cram.":
Periphrastic methods spurning,
To this audience discerning
I admit this show of learning
Is the fruit of steady "cram."!
CHORUS. Periphrastic methods, etc.
In the period Socratic every dining-room was Attic
(Which suggests an architecture of a topsy-turvy kind),
There they'd satisfy their thirst on a recherche cold {Greek
Which is what they called their lunch--and so may you if
you're inclined.
As they gradually got on, they'd {four Greek words)
(Which is Attic for a steady and a conscientious drink).
But they mixed their wine with water--which I'm sure they didn't
And we modern Saxons know a trick worth two of that, I
Then came rather risky dances (under certain circumstances)
Which would shock that worthy gentleman, the Licenser of
Corybantian maniac kick--Dionysiac or Bacchic--
And the Dithyrambic revels of those undecorous days.
(Confidentially to audience.)
And perhaps I'd better mention,
Lest alarming you I am,
That it isn't our intention
To perform a Dithyramb--
It displays a lot of stocking,
Which is always very shocking,
And of course I'm only mocking
At the prevalence of "cram"!
CHORUS. It displays a lot, etc.
Yes, on reconsideration, there are customs of that nation
Which are not in strict accordance with the habits of our
And when I come to codify, their rules I mean to modify,
Or Mrs. Grundy, p'r'aps, may have a word or two to say.
For they hadn't macintoshes or umbrellas or goloshes--
And a shower with their dresses must have played the very
And it must have been unpleasing when they caught a fit of
For, it seems, of pocket-handkerchiefs they didn't know the
They wore little underclothing--scarcely anything--or nothing--
And their dress of Coan silk was quite transparent in
Well, in fact, in summer weather, something like the "altogether"
And it's there, I rather fancy, I shall have to draw the
(Confidentially to audience.)
And again I wish to mention
That this erudition sham
Is but classical pretension,
The result of steady "cram."
Yet my classic lore aggressive
(If you'll pardon the possessive)
Is exceedingly impressive
When you're passing an exam.
CHORUS. Yet his classic lore, etc.
[Exeunt Chorus. Manent LUDWIG, JULIA, and LISA.
LUD. (recit.).
Yes, Ludwig and his Julia are mated!
For when an obscure comedian, whom the law backs,
To sovereign rank is promptly elevated,
He takes it with its incidental drawbacks!
So Julia and I are duly mated!
(LISA, through this, has expressed intense distress at
having to surrender LUDWIG.)
Take care of him--he's much too good to live,
With him you must be very gentle:
Poor fellow, he's so highly sensitive,
And O, so sentimental!
Be sure you never let him sit up late
In chilly open air conversing--
Poor darling, he's extremely delicate,
And wants a deal of nursing!
LUD. I want a deal of nursing!
LISA. And O, remember this--
When he is cross with pain,
A flower and a kiss--
A simple flower--a tender kiss
Will bring him round again!
His moods you must assiduously watch:
When he succumbs to sorrow tragic,
Some hardbake or a bit of butter-scotch
Will work on him like magic.
To contradict a character so rich
In trusting love were simple blindness--
He's one of those exalted natures which
Will only yield to kindness!
LUD. I only yield to kindness!
LISA. And O, the bygone bliss!
And O, the present pain!
That flower and that kiss--
That simple flower--that tender kiss
I ne'er shall give again!
JULIA. And now that everybody has gone, and we're happily
and comfortably married, I want to have a few words with my
new-born husband.
LUD. (aside). Yes, I expect you'll often have a few words
with your new-born husband! (Aloud.) Well, what is it?
JULIA. Why, I've been thinking that as you and I have to
play our parts for life, it is most essential that we should come
to a definite understanding as to how they shall be rendered.
Now, I've been considering how I can make the most of the Grand
LUD. Have you? Well, if you'll take my advice, you'll
a very fine part of it.
JULIA. Why, that's quite my idea.
LUD. I shouldn't make it one of your hoity-toity vixenish
JULIA. You think not?
LUD. Oh, I'm quite clear about that. I should make her a
tender, gentle, submissive, affectionate (but not too
affectionate) child-wife--timidly anxious to coil herself into
her husband's heart, but kept in check by an awestruck reverence
for his exalted intellectual qualities and his majestic personal
JULIA. Oh, that is your idea of a good part?
LUD. Yes--a wife who regards her husband's slightest wish
as an inflexible law, and who ventures but rarely into his august
presence, unless (which would happen seldom) he should summon her
to appear before him. A crushed, despairing violet, whose
blighted existence would culminate (all too soon) in a lonely and
pathetic death-scene! A fine part, my dear.
JULIA. Yes. There's a good deal to be said for your view
of it. Now there are some actresses whom it would fit like a
LUD. (aside). I wish I'd married one of 'em!
JULIA. But, you see, I must consider my temperament. For
instance, my temperament would demand some strong scenes of
justifiable jealousy.
LUD. Oh, there's no difficulty about that. You shall have
JULIA. With a lovely but detested rival--
LUD. Oh, I'll provide the rival.
JULIA. Whom I should stab--stab--stab!
LUD. Oh, I wouldn't stab her. It's been done to death. I
should treat her with a silent and contemptuous disdain, and
delicately withdraw from a position which, to one of your
sensitive nature, would be absolutely untenable. Dear me, I can
see you delicately withdrawing, up centre and off!
JULIA. Can you?
LUD. Yes. It's a fine situation--and in your hands, full
of quiet pathos!
LUD. Now Julia, come,
Consider it from
This dainty point of view--
A timid tender
Feminine gender,
Prompt to coyly coo--
Yet silence seeking,
Seldom speaking
Till she's spoken to--
A comfy, cosy,
Innocent ingenoo!
The part you're suited to--
(To give the deuce her due)
A sweet (O, jiminy!)
Innocent ingenoo!
The part you're suited to-- I'm much obliged to you,
(To give the deuce her due) I don't think that would do--
A sweet (O, jiminy!) To play (O, jiminy!)
Miminy-piminy, Miminy-piminy,
Innocent ingenoo! Innocent ingenoo!
JULIA. You forget my special magic
(In a high dramatic sense)
Lies in situations tragic--
Undeniably intense.
As I've justified promotion
In the histrionic art,
I'll submit to you my notion
Of a first-rate part.
LUD. Well, let us see your notion
Of a first-rate part.
JULIA (dramatically).
I have a rival! Frenzy-thrilled,
I find you both together!
My heart stands still--with horror chilled---
Hard as the millstone nether!
Then softly, slyly, snaily, snaky--
Crawly, creepy, quaily, quaky--
I track her on her homeward way,
As panther tracks her fated prey!
(Furiously.) I fly at her soft white throat--
The lily-white laughing leman!
On her agonized gaze I gloat
With the glee of a dancing demon!
My rival she--I have no doubt of her---
So I hold on--till the breath is out of her!
--till the breath is out of her!
And then--Remorse! Remorse!
O cold unpleasant corse,
Avaunt! Avaunt!
That lifeless form
I gaze upon--
That face, still warm
But weirdly wan--
Those eyes of glass
I contemplate--
And then, alas!
Too late--too late!
I find she is--your Aunt!
(Shuddering.) Remorse! Remorse!
Then, mad--mad--mad!
With fancies wild--chimerical--
Now sorrowful--silent--sad--
Now hullaballoo hysterical!
Ha! ha! ha! ha!
But whether I'm sad or whether I'm glad,
Mad! mad! mad! mad!
This calls for the resources of a high-class art,
And satisfies my notion of a first-rate part!
Enter all the Chorus, hurriedly, and in great excitement.
Your Highness, there's a party at the door--
Your Highness, at the door there is a party--
She says that we expect her,
But we do not recollect her,
For we never saw her countenance before!
With rage and indignation she is rife,
Because our welcome wasn't very hearty--
She's as sulky as a super,
And she's swearing like a trooper,
O, you never heard such language in your life!
BAR. With fury indescribable I burn!
With rage I'm nearly ready to explode!
There'll be grief and tribulation when I learn
To whom this slight unbearable is owed!
For whatever may be due I'll pay it double--
There'll be terror indescribable and trouble!
With a hurly-burly and a hubble-bubble
I'll pay you for this pretty episode!
ALL. Oh, whatever may be due she'll pay it double!--
It's very good of her to take the trouble--
But we don't know what she means by "hubble-bubble"--
No doubt it's an expression la mode.
Do you know who I am?
LUD. (examining her). I don't;
Your countenance I can't fix, my dear.
BAR. This proves I'm not a sham.
(Showing pocket-handkerchief.)
LUD. (examining it). It won't;
It only says "Krakenfeldt, Six," my dear.
BAR. Express your grief profound!
LUD. I shan't!
This tone I never allow, my love.
BAR. Rudolph at once produce!
LUD. I can't;
He isn't at home just now, my love.
BAR. (astonished). He isn't at home just now!
ALL. He isn't at home just now,
(Dancing derisively.) He has an appointment particular,
You'll find him, I think, in the town cemetery;
And that's how we come to be making so merry,
For he isn't at home just now!
BAR. But bless my heart and soul alive, it's impudence
I've come here to be matrimonially matrimonified!
LUD. For any disappointment I am sorry unaffectedly,
But yesterday that nobleman expired quite unexpectedly--
ALL (sobbing). Tol the riddle lol!
Tol the riddle lol!
Tol the riddle, lol the riddle, lol lol lay!
(Then laughing wildly.) Tol the riddle, lol the riddle, lol
BAR. But this is most unexpected. He was well enough at a
quarter to twelve yesterday.
LUD. Yes. He died at half-past eleven.
BAR. Bless me, how very sudden!
LUD. It was sudden.
BAR. But what in the world am I to do? I was to have been
married to him to-day!
ALL (singing and dancing).
For any disappointment we are sorry unaffectedly,
But yesterday that nobleman expired quite unexpectedly--
Tol the riddle lol!
BAR. Is this Court Mourning or a Fancy Ball?
LUD. Well, it's a delicate combination of both effects.
is intended to express inconsolable grief for the decease of the
late Duke and ebullient joy at the accession of his successor. I
am his successor. Permit me to present you to my Grand Duchess.
(Indicating JULIA.)
BAR. Your Grand Duchess? Oh, your Highness! (Curtseying
JULIA (sneering at her). Old frump!
BAR. Humph! A recent creation, probably?
LUD. We were married only half an hour ago.
BAR. Exactly . I thought she seemed new to the position.
JULIA. Ma'am, I don't know who you are, but I flatter
myself I can do justice to any part on the very shortest notice.
BAR. My dear, under the circumstances you are doing
admirably--and you'll improve with practice. It's so difficult
to be a lady when one isn't born to it.
JULIA (in a rage, to LUDWIG). Am I to stand this? Am I
to be allowed to pull her to pieces?
LUD. (aside to JULIA). No, no--it isn't Greek. Be a
violet, I beg.
BAR. And now tell me all about this distressing
circumstance. How did the Grand Duke die?
LUD. He perished nobly--in a Statutory Duel.
BAR. In a Statutory Duel? But that's only a civil
death!--and the Act expires to-night, and then he will come to
life again!
LUD. Well, no. Anxious to inaugurate my reign by
conferring some inestimable boon on my people, I signalized this
occasion by reviving the law for another hundred years.
BAR. For another hundred years? Then set the merry
joybells ringing! Let festive epithalamia resound through these
ancient halls! Cut the satisfying sandwich--broach the
exhilarating Marsala--and let us rejoice to-day, if we never
rejoice again!
LUD. But I don't think I quite understand. We have
rejoiced a good deal.
BAR. Happy man, you little reck of the extent of the good
things you are in for. When you killed Rudolph you adopted all
his overwhelming responsibilities. Know then that I, Caroline
von Krakenfeldt, am the most overwhelming of them all!
LUD. But stop, stop--I've just been married to somebody
JULIA. Yes, ma'am, to somebody else, ma'am! Do you
understand, ma'am? To somebody else!
BAR. Do keep this young woman quiet; she fidgets me!
JULIA. Fidgets you!
LUD. (aside to JULIA). Be a violet--a crushed, despairing
JULIA. Do you suppose I intend to give up a magnificent
part without a struggle?
LUD. My good girl, she has the law on her side. Let us
both bear this calamity with resignation. If you must struggle,
go away and struggle in the seclusion of your chamber.
Now away to the wedding we go,
So summon the charioteers--
No kind of reluctance they show
To embark on their married careers.
Though Julia's emotion may flow
For the rest of her maidenly years,
ALL. To the wedding we eagerly go,
So summon the charioteers!
Now away, etc.
(All dance off to wedding except JULIA.)
So ends my dream--so fades my vision fair!
Of hope no gleam--distraction and despair!
My cherished dream, the Ducal throne to share
That aim supreme has vanished into air!
Broken every promise plighted--
All is darksome--all is dreary.
Every new-born hope is blighted!
Sad and sorry--weak and weary
Death the Friend or Death the Foe,
Shall I call upon thee? No!
I will go on living, though
Sad and sorry--weak and weary!
No, no! Let the bygone go by!
No good ever came of repining:
If to-day there are clouds o'er the sky,
To-morrow the sun may be shining!
To-morrow, be kind,
To-morrow, to me!
With loyalty blind
I curtsey to thee!
To-day is a day of illusion and sorrow,
So viva To-morrow, To-morrow, To-morrow!
God save you, To-morrow!
Your servant, To-morrow!
God save you, To-morrow, To-morrow, To-morrow!
[Exit JULIA.
ERN. It's of no use--I can't wait any longer. At any risk
I must gratify my urgent desire to know what is going on.
(Looking off.) Why, what's that? Surely I see a wedding
procession winding down the hill, dressed in my Troilus and
Cressida costumes! That's Ludwig's doing! I see how it is--he
found the time hang heavy on his hands, and is amusing himself by
getting married to Lisa. No--it can't be to Lisa, for here she
Enter LISA.
LISA (not seeing him). I really cannot stand seeing my
Ludwig married twice in one day to somebody else!
ERN. Lisa!
(LISA sees him, and stands as if transfixed with horror.).
ERN. Come here--don't be a little fool--I want you.
(LISA suddenly turns and bolts off.)
ERN. Why, what's the matter with the little donkey? One
would think she saw a ghost! But if he's not marrying Lisa, whom
is he marrying? (Suddenly.) Julia! (Much overcome.) I see it
all! The scoundrel! He had to adopt all my responsibilities,
and he's shabbily taken advantage of the situation to marry the
girl I'm engaged to! But no, it can't be Julia, for here she is!
Enter JULIA.
JULIA (not seeing him). I've made up my mind. I won't
stand it! I'll send in my notice at once!
ERN. Julia! Oh, what a relief!
(JULIA gazes at him as if transfixed.)
ERN. Then you've not married Ludwig? You are still true
(JULIA turns and bolts in grotesque horror. ERNEST follows and
stops her.)
ERN. Don't run away! Listen to me. Are you all crazy?
JULIA (in affected terror). What would you with me,
spectre? Oh, ain't his eyes sepulchral! And ain't his voice
hollow! What are you doing out of your tomb at this time of
ERN. I do wish I could make you girls understand that I'm
only technically dead, and that physically I'm as much alive as
ever I was in my life!
JULIA. Oh, but it's an awful thing to be haunted by a
technical bogy!
ERN. You won't be haunted much longer. The law must be on
its last legs, and in a few hours I shall come to life
again--resume all my social and civil functions, and claim my
darling as my blushing bride!
JULIA. Oh--then you haven't heard?
ERN. My love, I've heard nothing. How could I? There are
no daily papers where I come from.
JULIA. Why, Ludwig challenged Rudolph and won, and now
Grand Duke, and he's revived the law for another century!
ERN. What! But you're not serious--you're only joking!
JULIA. My good sir, I'm a light-hearted girl, but I don't
chaff bogies.
ERN. Well, that's the meanest dodge I ever heard of!
JULIA. Shabby trick, I call it.
ERN. But you don't mean to say that you're going to cry
JULIA. I really can't afford to wait until your time is
You know, I've always set my face against long engagements.
ERN. Then defy the law and marry me now. We will fly to
your native country, and I'll play broken-English in London as
you play broken-German here!
JULIA. No. These legal technicalities cannot be defied.
Situated as you are, you have no power to make me your wife. At
best you could only make me your widow.
ERN. Then be my widow--my little, dainty, winning, winsome
JULIA. Now what would be the good of that? Why, you
I should marry again within a month!
ERN. If the light of love's lingering ember
Has faded in gloom,
You cannot neglect, O remember,
A voice from the tomb!
That stern supernatural diction
Should act as a solemn restriction,
Although by a mere legal fiction
A voice from the tomb!
JULIA (in affected terror).
I own that that utterance chills me--
It withers my bloom!
With awful emotion it thrills me--
That voice from the tomb!
Oh, spectre, won't anything lay thee?
Though pained to deny or gainsay thee,
In this case I cannot obey thee,
Thou voice from the tomb!
(Dancing.) So, spectre, appalling,
I bid you good-day--
Perhaps you'll be calling
When passing this way.
Your bogydom scorning,
And all your love-lorning,
I bid you good-morning,
I bid you good-day.
ERN. (furious). My offer recalling,
Your words I obey--
Your fate is appalling,
And full of dismay.
To pay for this scorning
I give you fair warning
I'll haunt you each morning,
Each night, and each day!
(Repeat Ensemble, and exeunt in opposite directions.)
Re-enter the Wedding Procession dancing.
Now bridegroom and bride let us toast
In a magnum of merry champagne--
Let us make of this moment the most,
We may not be so lucky again.
So drink to our sovereign host
And his highly intelligent reign--
His health and his bride's let us toast
In a magnum of merry champagne!
I once gave an evening party
(A sandwich and cut-orange ball),
But my guests had such appetites hearty
That I couldn't enjoy it, enjoy it at all.
I made a heroic endeavour
To look unconcerned, but in vain,
And I vow'd that I never--oh never
Would ask anybody again!
But there's a distinction decided---
A difference truly immense--
When the wine that you drink is provided, provided,
At somebody else's expense.
So bumpers--aye, ever so many--
The cost we may safely ignore!
For the wine doesn't cost us a penny,
Tho' it's Pommry seventy-four!
CHORUS. So bumpers--aye, ever so many--etc.
Come, bumpers--aye, ever so many--
And then, if you will, many more!
This wine doesn't cost us a penny,
Tho' it's Pommry, Pommry seventy-four!
Old wine is a true panacea
For ev'ry conceivable ill,
When you cherish the soothing idea
That somebody else pays the bill!
Old wine is a pleasure that's hollow
When at your own table you sit,
For you're thinking each mouthful you swallow
Has cost you, has cost you a threepenny-bit!
So bumpers--aye, ever so many--
And then, if you will, many more!
This wine doesn't cost us a penny,
Tho' it's Pommry seventy-four!
CHORUS. So, bumpers--aye, ever so many--etc.
(March heard.)
LUD. (recit.). Why, who is this approaching,
Upon our joy encroaching?
Some rascal come a-poaching
Who's heard that wine we're broaching?
ALL. Who may this be?
Who may this be?
Who is he? Who is he? Who is he?
HER. The Prince of Monte Carlo,
From Mediterranean water,
Has come here to bestow
On you his beautiful daughter.
They've paid off all they owe,
As every statesman oughter--
That Prince of Monte Carlo
And his be-eautiful daughter!
CHORUS. The Prince of Monte Carlo, etc.
HER. The Prince of Monte Carlo,
Who is so very partickler,
Has heard that you're also
For ceremony a stickler--
Therefore he lets you know
By word of mouth auric'lar--
(That Prince of Monte Carlo
Who is so very particklar)--
CHORUS. The Prince of Monte Carlo, etc.
HER. That Prince of Monte Carlo,
From Mediterranean water,
Has come here to bestow
On you his be-eautiful daughter!
LUD. (recit.). His Highness we know not--nor the locality
In which is situate his Principality;
But, as he guesses by some odd fatality,
This is the shop for cut and dried formality!
Let him appear--
He'll find that we're
Remarkable for cut and dried formality.
(Reprise of March. Exit HERALD.
LUDWIG beckons his Court.)
LUD. I have a plan--I'll tell you all the plot of it--
He wants formality--he shall have a lot of it!
(Whispers to them, through symphony.)
Conceal yourselves, and when I give the cue,
Spring out on him--you all know what to do!
(All conceal themselves behind the draperies that enclose the
Pompous March. Enter the PRINCE and PRINCESS OF MONTE CARLO,
attended by six theatrical-looking nobles and the Court
DUET--Prince and PRINCESS.
PRINCE. We're rigged out in magnificent array
(Our own clothes are much gloomier)
In costumes which we've hired by the day
From a very well-known costumier.
COST. (bowing). I am the well-known costumier.
PRINCESS. With a brilliant staff a Prince should make a show
(It's a rule that never varies),
So we've engaged from the Theatre Monaco
Six supernumeraries.
NOBLES. We're the supernumeraries.
ALL. At a salary immense,
Quite regardless of expense,
Six supernumeraries!
PRINCE. They do not speak, for they break our grammar's laws,
And their language is lamentable--
And they never take off their gloves, because
Their nails are not presentable.
NOBLES. Our nails are not presentable!
PRINCESS. To account for their shortcomings manifest
We explain, in a whisper bated,
They are wealthy members of the brewing interest
To the Peerage elevated.
NOBLES. To the Peerage elevated.
ALL. They're/We're very, very rich,
And accordingly, as sich,
To the Peerage elevated.
PRINCE. Well, my dear, here we are at last--just in time
compel Duke Rudolph to fulfil the terms of his marriage contract.
Another hour and we should have been too late.
PRINCESS. Yes, papa, and if you hadn't fortunately
discovered a means of making an income by honest industry, we
should never have got here at all.
PRINCE. Very true. Confined for the last two years within
the precincts of my palace by an obdurate bootmaker who held a
warrant for my arrest, I devoted my enforced leisure to a study
of the doctrine of chances--mainly with the view of ascertaining
whether there was the remotest chance of my ever going out for a
walk again--and this led to the discovery of a singularly
fascinating little round game which I have called Roulette, and
by which, in one sitting, I won no less than five thousand
francs! My first act was to pay my bootmaker--my second, to
engage a good useful working set of second-hand nobles--and my
third, to hurry you off to Pfennig Halbpfennig as fast as a train
de luxe could carry us!
PRINCESS. Yes, and a pretty job-lot of second-hand nobles
you've scraped together!
PRINCE (doubtfully). Pretty, you think? Humph! I don't
know. I should say tol-lol, my love--only tol-lol. They are not
wholly satisfactory. There is a certain air of unreality about
them--they are not convincing.
COST. But, my goot friend, vhat can you expect for
eighteenpence a day!
PRINCE. Now take this Peer, for instance. What the deuce
do you call him?
COST. Him? Oh, he's a swell--he's the Duke of Riviera.
PRINCE. Oh, he's a Duke, is he? Well, that's no reason
he should look so confoundedly haughty. (To Noble.) Be affable,
sir! (Noble takes attitude of affability.) That's better.
(Passing to another.) Now, who's this with his moustache coming
COST. Vhy; you're Viscount Mentone, ain't you?
NOBLE. Blest if I know. (Turning up sword-belt.) It's
wrote here--yes, Viscount Mentone.
COST. Then vhy don't you say so? 'Old yerself up--you
ain't carryin' sandwich boards now. (Adjusts his moustache.)
PRINCE. Now, once for all, you Peers--when His Highness
arrives, don't stand like sticks, but appear to take an
intelligent and sympathetic interest in what is going on. You
needn't say anything, but let your gestures be in accordance with
the spirit of the conversation. Now take the word from me.
Affability! (attitude). Submission! (attitude). Surprise!
(attitude). Shame! (attitude). Grief! (attitude). Joy!
(attitude). That's better! You can do it if you like!
PRINCESS. But, papa, where in the world is the Court?
There is positively no one here to receive us! I can't help
feeling that Rudolph wants to get out of it because I'm poor.
He's a miserly little wretch--that's what he is.
PRINCE. Well, I shouldn't go so far as to say that. I
should rather describe him as an enthusiastic collector of
coins--of the realm--and we must not be too hard upon a
numismatist if he feels a certain disinclination to part with
some of his really very valuable specimens. It's a pretty hobby:
I've often thought I should like to collect some coins myself.
PRINCESS. Papa, I'm sure there's some one behind that
curtain. I saw it move!
PRINCE. Then no doubt they are coming. Now mind, you
Peers--haughty affability combined with a sense of what is due to
your exalted ranks, or I'll fine you half a franc each--upon my
soul I will!
(Gong. The curtains fly back and the Court are discovered. They
give a wild yell and rush on to the stage dancing wildly,
with PRINCE, PRINCESS, and Nobles, who are taken by
at first, but eventually join in a reckless dance. At the
end all fall down exhausted.)
LUD. There, what do you think of that? That's our
ceremonial for the reception of visitors of the very highest
PRINCE (puzzled). It's very quaint--very curious indeed.
Prettily footed, too. Prettily footed.
LUD. Would you like to see how we say "good-bye" to
visitors of distinction? That ceremony is also performed with
the foot.
PRINCE. Really, this tone--ah, but perhaps you have not
completely grasped the situation?
LUD. Not altogether.
PRINCE. Ah, then I'll give you a lead over.
(Significantly:) I am the father of the Princess of Monte Carlo.
Doesn't that convey any idea to the Grand Ducal mind?
LUD. (stolidly). Nothing definite.
PRINCE (aside). H'm--very odd! Never mind--try again!
(Aloud.) This is the daughter of the Prince of Monte Carlo. Do
you take?
LUD. (still puzzled). No--not yet. Go on--don't give it
up--I dare say it will come presently.
PRINCE. Very odd--never mind--try again. (With sly
significance.) Twenty years ago! Little doddle doddle! Two
little doddle doddles! Happy father--hers and yours. Proud
mother--yours and hers! Hah! Now you take? I see you do! I
see you do!
LUD. Nothing is more annoying than to feel that you're not
equal to the intellectual pressure of the conversation. I wish
he'd say something intelligible.
PRINCE. You didn't expect me?
LUD. (jumping at it). No, no. I grasp that--thank you
much. (Shaking hands with him.) No, I did not expect you!
PRINCE. I thought not. But ha! ha! at last I have escaped
from my enforced restraint. (General movement of alarm.) (To
crowd who are stealing off.) No, no--you misunderstand me. I
mean I've paid my debts!
ALL. Oh! (They return.)
PRINCESS (affectionately). But, my darling, I'm afraid
even now you don't quite realize who I am! (Embracing him.)
BARONESS. Why, you forward little hussy, how dare you?
(Takes her away from LUDWIG.)
LUD. You mustn't do that, my dear--never in the presence
the Grand Duchess, I beg!
PRINCESS (weeping). Oh, papa, he's got a Grand Duchess!
LUD. A Grand Duchess! My good girl, I've got three Grand
PRINCESS. Well, I'm sure! Papa, let's go away--this is
a respectable Court.
PRINCE. All these Grand Dukes have their little fancies,
love. This potentate appears to be collecting wives. It's a
pretty hobby--I should like to collect a few myself. This
(admiring BARONESS) is a charming specimen--an antique, I should
say--of the early Merovingian period, if I'm not mistaken; and
here's another--a Scotch lady, I think (alluding to JULIA), and
(alluding to LISA) a little one thrown in. Two half-quarterns
and a makeweight! (To LUDWIG.) Have you such a thing as a
catalogue of the Museum?
PRINCESS. But I cannot permit Rudolph to keep a museum--
LUD. Rudolph? Get along with you, I'm not Rudolph!
Rudolph died yesterday!
LUD. Quite suddenly--of--of--a cardiac affection.
PRINCE and PRINCESS. Of a cardiac affection!
LUD. Yes, a pack-of-cardiac affection. He fought a
Statutory Duel with me and lost, and I took over all his
engagements--including this imperfectly preserved old lady, to
whom he has been engaged for the last three weeks.
PRINCESS. Three weeks! But I've been engaged to him for
the last twenty years!
BARONESS, LISA, and JULIA. Twenty years!
PRINCE (aside). It's all right, my love--they can't get
over that. (Aloud.) He's yours--take him, and hold him as tight
as you can!
PRINCESS. My own! (Embracing LUDWIG.)
LUD. Here's another!--the fourth in four-and-twenty hours!
Would anybody else like to marry me? You, ma'am--or
you--anybody! I'm getting used to it!
BARONESS. But let me tell you, ma'am--
JULIA. Why, you impudent little hussy--
LISA. Oh, here's another--here's another! (Weeping.)
PRINCESS. Poor ladies, I'm very sorry for you all; but,
see, I've a prior claim. Come, away we go--there's not a moment
to be lost!
CHORUS (as they dance towards exit).
Away to the wedding we'll go
To summon the charioteers,
No kind of reluctance we show
To embark on our married careers--
(At this moment RUDOLPH, ERNEST, and NOTARY appear.
All kneel in astonishment.)
RUD., Ern., and NOT.
Forbear! This may not be!
Frustrated are your plans!
With paramount decree
The Law forbids the banns!
ALL. The Law forbids the banns!
LUD. Not a bit of it! I've revived the law for another
RUD. You didn't revive it! You couldn't revive it!
You--you are an impostor, sir--a tuppenny rogue, sir! You--you
never were, and in all human probability never will be--Grand
Duke of Pfennig Anything!
ALL. What!!!
RUD. Never--never, never! (Aside.) Oh, my internal
LUD. That's absurd, you know. I fought the Grand Duke.
drew a King, and I drew an Ace. He perished in inconceivable
agonies on the spot. Now, as that's settled, we'll go on with
the wedding.
RUD. It--it isn't settled. You--you can't. I--I--(to
NOTARY). Oh, tell him--tell him! I can't!
NOT. Well, the fact is, there's been a little mistake
On reference to the Act that regulates Statutory Duels, I find it
is expressly laid down that the Ace shall count invariably as
ALL. As lowest!
RUD. (breathlessly). As lowest--lowest--lowest! So
the ghoest--ghoest--ghoest! (Aside.) Oh, what is the matter
with me inside here!
ERN. Well, Julia, as it seems that the law hasn't been
revived--and as, consequently, I shall come to life in about
three minutes--(consulting his watch)--
JULIA. My objection falls to the ground. (Resignedly.)
Very well!
PRINCESS. And am I to understand that I was on the point
marrying a dead man without knowing it? (To RUDOLPH, who
revives.) Oh, my love, what a narrow escape I've had!
RUD. Oh--you are the Princess of Monte Carlo, and you've
turned up just in time! Well, you're an attractive little girl,
you know, but you're as poor as a rat! (They retire up
LISA. That's all very well, but what is to become of me?
(To LUDWIG.) If you're a dead man--(Clock strikes three.)
LUD. But I'm not. Time's up--the Act has expired--I've
to life--the parson is still in attendance, and we'll all be
married directly.
ALL. Hurrah!
Happy couples, lightly treading,
Castle chapel will be quite full!
Each shall have a pretty wedding,
As, of course, is only rightful,
Though the brides be fair or frightful.
Contradiction little dreading,
This will be a day delightful--
Each shall have a pretty wedding!
Such a pretty, pretty wedding!
Such a pretty wedding!
(All dance off to get married as the curtain falls.)
Libretto by William S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
CAPTAIN CORCORAN (Commanding H.M.S. Pinafore).
TOM TUCKER (Midshipmite).
DICK DEADEYE (Able Seaman).
BILL BOBSTAY (Boatswain's Mate).
BOB BECKET (Carpenter's Mate).
JOSEPHINE (the Captain's Daughter).
HEBE (Sir Joseph Porter's First Cousin).
MRS. CRIPPS (LITTLE BUTTERCUP) (A Portsmouth Bumboat Woman).
First Lord's Sisters, his Cousins, his Aunts, Sailors,
Marines, etc.
ACT I.--Noon. ACT II.--Night
First produced at the Opera Comique on May 25, 1878.
SCENE--Quarter-deck of H.M.S. Pinafore. Sailors, led by
discovered cleaning brasswork, splicing rope, etc.
We sail the ocean blue,
And our saucy ship's a beauty;
We're sober men and true,
And attentive to our duty.
When the balls whistle free
O'er the bright blue sea,
We stand to our guns all day;
When at anchor we ride
On the Portsmouth tide,
We have plenty of time to play.
Enter LITTLE BUTTERCUP, with large basket on her arm
Hail, men-o'-war's men-safeguards of your nation
Here is an end, at last, of all privation;
You've got your play--spare all you can afford
To welcome Little Buttercup on board.
For I'm called Little Buttercup--dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup--poor little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup I!
I've snuff and tobaccy, and excellent jacky,
I've scissors, and watches, and knives
I've ribbons and laces to set off the faces
Of pretty young sweethearts and wives.
I've treacle and toffee, I've tea and I've coffee,
Soft tommy and succulent chops;
I've chickens and conies, and pretty polonies,
And excellent peppermint drops.
Then buy of your Buttercup--dear Little Buttercup;
Sailors should never be shy;
So, buy of your Buttercup--poor Little Buttercup;
Come, of your Buttercup buy!
BOAT. Aye, Little Buttercup--and well called--for you're the
the roundest, and the reddest beauty in all Spithead.
BUT. Red, am I? and round--and rosy! Maybe, for I have
dissembled well!
But hark ye, my merry friend--hast ever thought that beneath a
gay and
frivolous exterior there may lurk a canker-worm which is slowly
surely eating its way into one's very heart?
BOAT. No, my lass, I can't say I've ever thought that.
Enter DICK DEADEYE. He pushes through sailors, and comes down
DICK. I have thought it often. (All recoil from him.)
BUT. Yes, you look like it! What's the matter with the man?
Isn't he
BOAT. Don't take no heed of him; that's only poor Dick Deadeye.
DICK. I say--it's a beast of a name, ain't it--Dick Deadeye?
BUT. It's not a nice name.
DICK. I'm ugly too, ain't I?
BUT. You are certainly plain.
DICK. And I'm three-cornered too, ain't I?
BUT. You are rather triangular.
DICK. Ha! ha! That's it. I'm ugly, and they hate me for it; for
you all
hate me, don't you?
ALL. We do!
DICK. There!
BOAT. Well, Dick, we wouldn't go for to hurt any fellow
feelings, but you can't expect a chap with such a name as Dick
Deadeye to
be a popular character--now can you?
BOAT. It's asking too much, ain't it?
DICK. It is. From such a face and form as mine the noblest
sound like the black utterances of a depraved imagination It is
nature--I am resigned.
BUT. (looking down hatchway).
But, tell me--who's the youth whose faltering feet
With difficulty bear him on his course?
BOAT. That is the smartest lad in all the fleet--
Ralph Rackstraw!
BUT. Ha! That name! Remorse! remorse!
Enter RALPH from hatchway
The Nightingale
Sighed for the moon's bright ray
And told his tale
In his own melodious way!
He sang "Ah, well-a-day!"
ALL. He sang "Ah, well-a-day!"
The lowly vale
For the mountain vainly sighed,
To his humble wail
The echoing hills replied.
They sang "Ah, well-a-day!"
All. They sang "Ah, well-a-day!"
I know the value of a kindly chorus,
But choruses yield little consolation
When we have pain and sorrow too before us!
I love--and love, alas, above my station!
BUT. (aside). He loves--and loves a lass above his station!
ALL (aside). Yes, yes, the lass is much above his station!
A maiden fair to see,
The pearl of minstrelsy,
A bud of blushing beauty;
For whom proud nobles sigh,
And with each other vie
To do her menial's duty.
ALL. To do her menial's duty.
A suitor, lowly born,
With hopeless passion torn,
And poor beyond denying,
Has dared for her to pine
At whose exalted shrine
A world of wealth is sighing.
ALL. A world of wealth is sighing.
Unlearned he in aught
Save that which love has taught
(For love had been his tutor);
Oh, pity, pity me--
Our captain's daughter she,
And I that lowly suitor!
ALL. And he that lowly suitor!
BOAT. Ah, my poor lad, you've climbed too high: our worthy
child won't have nothin' to say to a poor chap like you. Will
she, lads?
ALL. No, no.
DICK. No, no, captains' daughters don't marry foremast hands.
ALL (recoiling from him). Shame! shame!
BOAT. Dick Deadeye, them sentiments o' yourn are a disgrace to
common natur'.
RALPH, But it's a strange anomaly, that the daughter of a man
who hails
from the quarter-deck may not love another who lays out on the
arm. For a man is but a man, whether he hoists his flag at the
or his slacks on the main-deck.
DICK. Ah, it's a queer world!
RALPH. Dick Deadeye, I have no desire to press hardly on you,
but such
a revolutionary sentiment is enough to make an honest sailor
BOAT. My lads, our gallant captain has come on deck; let us
greet him
as so brave an officer and so gallant a seaman deserves.
CAPT. My gallant crew, good morning.
ALL (saluting). Sir, good morning!
CAPT. I hope you're all quite well.
ALL(as before). Quite well; and you, sir?
CAPT. I am in reasonable health, and happy
To meet you all once more.
ALL (as before). You do us proud, sir!
CAPT. I am the Captain of the Pinafore;
ALL. And a right good captain, tool
You're very, very good,
And be it understood,
I command a right good crew,
ALL. We're very, very good,
And be it understood,
He commands a right good crew.
CAPT. Though related to a peer,
I can hand, reef, and steer,
And ship a selvagee;
I am never known to quail
At the furry of a gale,
And I'm never, never sick at sea!
ALL. What, never?
CAPT. No, never!
ALL. What, never?
CAPT. Hardly ever!
ALL. He's hardly ever sick at seal
Then give three cheers, and one cheer more,
For the hardy Captain of the Pinafore!
CAPT. I do my best to satisfy you all--
ALL. And with you we're quite content.
CAPT. You're exceedingly polite,
And I think it only right
To return the compliment.
ALL. We're exceedingly polite,
And he thinks it's only right
To return the compliment.
CAPT. Bad language or abuse,
I never, never use,
Whatever the emergency;
Though "Bother it" I may
Occasionally say,
I never use a big, big D--
ALL. What, never?
CAPT. No, never!
ALL. What, never?
CAPT. Hardly ever!
ALL. Hardly ever swears a big, big D--
Then give three cheers, and one cheer more,
For the well-bred Captain of the Pinafore!
[After song exeunt all but
BUT. Sir, you are sad! The silent eloquence
Of yonder tear that trembles on your eyelash
Proclaims a sorrow far more deep than common;
Confide in me--fear not--I am a mother!
CAPT. Yes, Little Buttercup, I'm sad and sorry--
My daughter, Josephine, the fairest flower
That ever blossomed on ancestral timber,
Is sought in marriage by Sir Joseph Porter,
Our Admiralty's First Lord, but for some reason
She does not seem to tackle kindly to it.
BUT, (with emotion). Ah, poor Sir Joseph! Ah, I know too well
The anguish of a heart that loves but vainly!
But see, here comes your most attractive daughter.
I go--Farewell!
CAPT. (looking after her). A plump and pleasing person!
Enter JOSEPHINE, twining some flowers which she carries in a
Sorry her lot who loves too well,
Heavy the heart that hopes but vainly,
Sad are the sighs that own the spell,
Uttered by eyes that speak too plainly;
Heavy the sorrow that bows the head
When love is alive and hope is dead!
Sad is the hour when sets the sun--
Dark is the night to earth's poor daughters,
When to the ark the wearied one
Flies from the empty waste of waters!
Heavy the sorrow that bows the head
When love is alive and hope is dead!
CAPT. My child, I grieve to see that you are a prey to
melancholy. You
should look your best to-day, for Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., will
be here
this afternoon to claim your promised hand.
JOS. Ah, father, your words cut me to the quick. I can esteem--
reverence--venerate Sir Joseph, for he is a great and good man;
but oh, I
cannot love him! My heart is already given.
CAPT. (aside). It is then as I feared. (Aloud.) Given? And to
whom? Not
to some gilded lordling?
JOS. No, father--the object of my love is no lordling. Oh, pity
me, for
he is but a humble sailor on board your own ship!
CAPT. Impossible!
JOS. Yes, it is true.
CAPT. A common sailor? Oh fie!
JOS. I blush for the weakness that allows me to cherish such a
I hate myself when I think of the depth to which I have stooped
permitting myself to think tenderly of one so ignobly born, but I
him! I love him! I love him! (Weeps.)
CAPT. Come, my child, let us talk this over. In a matter of the
heart I
would not coerce my daughter--I attach but little value to rank
wealth, but the line must be drawn somewhere. A man in that
station may
be brave and worthy, but at every step he would commit solecisms
society would never pardon.
JOS. Oh, I have thought of this night and day. But fear not,
father, I
have a heart, and therefore I love; but I am your daughter, and
I am proud. Though I carry my love with me to the tomb, he shall
never know it.
CAPT. You are my daughter after all. But see, Sir Joseph's
approaches, manned by twelve trusty oarsmen and accompanied by
admiring crowd of sisters, cousins, and aunts that attend him
wherever he
goes. Retire, my daughter, to your cabin--take this, his
photograph, with
you--it may help to bring you to a more reasonable frame of mind.
JOS. My own thoughtful father!
[Exit JOSEPHINE. CAPTAIN remains and ascends the poop-deck.
BARCAROLLE. (invisible)
Over the bright blue sea
Comes Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.,
Wherever he may go
Bang-bang the loud nine-pounders go!
Shout o'er the bright blue sea
For Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.
[During this the Crew have entered on tiptoe, listening
attentive to
the song.
Sir Joseph's barge is seen,
And its crowd of blushing beauties,
We hope he'll find us clean,
And attentive to our duties.
We sail, we sail the ocean blue,
And our saucy ship's a beauty.
We're sober, sober men and true
And attentive to our duty.
We're smart and sober men,
And quite devoid of fe-ar,
In all the Royal N.
None are so smart as we are.
(They dance round stage)
REL. Gaily tripping,
Lightly skipping,
Flock the maidens to the shipping.
SAILORS. Flags and guns and pennants dipping!
All the ladies love the shipping.
REL. Sailors sprightly
Always rightly
Welcome ladies so politely.
SAILORS. Ladies who can smile so brightly,
Sailors welcome most politely.
CAPT. (from poop). Now give three cheers, I'll lead the way
ALL. Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! hurray!
I am the monarch of the sea,
The ruler of the Queen's Navee,
Whose praise Great Britain loudly chants.
COUSIN HEBE. And we are his sisters, and his cousins and his
REL. And we are his sisters, and his cousins, and his
SIR JOSEPH. When at anchor here I ride,
My bosom swells with pride,
And I snap my fingers at a foeman's
COUSIN HEBE. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his
ALL. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his
SIR JOSEPH. But when the breezes blow,
I generally go below,
And seek the seclusion that a cabin grants;
COUSIN HEBE. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his
ALL. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his
His sisters and his cousins,
Whom he reckons up by dozens,
And his aunts!
When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so carefullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
CHORUS.--He polished, etc.
As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
I served the writs with a smile so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand--
I copied all the letters in a hand so free,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
CHORUS.- He copied, etc.
In serving writs I made such a name
That an articled clerk I soon became;
I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
For the pass examination at the Institute,
And that pass examination did so well for me,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
CHORUS.--And that pass examination, etc.
Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that junior partnership, I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen.
But that kind of ship so suited me,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
CHORUS.- But that kind, etc.
I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
CHORUS.- He thought so little, etc.
Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule--
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee!
CHORUS.--Stick close, etc.
SIR JOSEPH. You've a remarkably fine crew, Captain Corcoran.
CAPT. It is a fine crew, Sir Joseph.
SIR JOSEPH. (examining a very small midshipman). A British
sailor is a
splendid fellow, Captain Corcoran.
CAPT. A splendid fellow indeed, Sir Joseph.
SIR JOSEPH. I hope you treat your crew kindly, Captain
CAPT. Indeed I hope so, Sir Joseph.
SIR JOSEPH, Never forget that they are the bulwarks of
greatness, Captain Corcoran.
CAPT. So I have always considered them, Sir Joseph.
SIR JOSEPH. No bullying, I trust--no strong language of any
kind, eh?
CAPT. Oh, never, Sir Joseph.
SIR JOSEPH. What, never?
CAPT. Hardly ever, Sir Joseph. They are an excellent crew, and
do their
work thoroughly without it.
SIR JOSEPH. Don't patronise them, sir--pray, don't patronise
CAPT. Certainly not, Sir Joseph.
SIR JOSEPH. That you are their captain is an accident of birth.
cannot permit these noble fellows to be patronised because an
accident of
birth has placed you above them and them below you.
CAPT. I am the last person to insult a British sailor, Sir
SIR JOSEPH. You are the last person who did, Captain Corcoran.
that splendid seaman to step forward.
(DICK comes forward)
SIR JOSEPH. No, no, the other splendid seaman.
CAPT. Ralph Rackstraw, three paces to the front--march!
SIR JOSEPH (sternly). If what?
CAPT. I beg your pardon--I don't think I understand you.
SIR JOSEPH. If you please.
CAPT. Oh, yes, of course. If you please. (RALPH steps forward.)
SIR JOSEPH. You're a remarkably fine fellow.
RALPH. Yes, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. And a first-rate seaman, I'll be bound.
RALPH. There's not a smarter topman in the Navy, your honour,
though I
say it who shouldn't.
SIR JOSEPH. Not at all. Proper self-respect, nothing more. Can
dance a hornpipe?
RALPH. No, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. That's a pity: all sailors should dance hornpipes.
I will
teach you one this evening, after dinner. Now tell me--don't be
how does your captain treat you, eh?
RALPH. A better captain don't walk the deck, your honour.
ALL. Aye; Aye!
SIR JOSEPH. Good. I like to hear you speak well of your
officer; I daresay he don't deserve it, but still it does you
credit. Can
you sing?
RALPH. I can hum a little, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. Then hum this at your leisure. (Giving him MS.
music.) It
is a song that I have composed for the use of the Royal Navy. It
designed to encourage independence of thought and action in the
branches of the service, and to teach the principle that a
British sailor
is any man's equal, excepting mine. Now, Captain Corcoran, a word
you in your cabin, on a tender and sentimental subject.
CAPT. Aye, aye,
Sir Joseph (Crossing) Boatswain, in commemoration of this
occasion, see that extra grog is served out to the ship's company
seven bells.
BOAT. Beg pardon. If what, your honour?
CAPT. If what? I don't think I understand you.
BOAT. If you please, your honour.
CAPT. What!
SIR JOSEPH. The gentleman is quite right. If you please.
CAPT. (stamping his foot impatiently). If you please!
SIR JOSEPH. For I hold that on the seas
The expression, "if you please",
A particularly gentlemanly tone implants.
COUSIN HEBE. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his
ALL. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his
BOAT. Ah! Sir Joseph's true gentleman; courteous and
considerate to the
very humblest.
RALPH. True, Boatswain, but we are not the very humblest. Sir
has explained our true position to us. As he says, a British
seaman is
any man's equal excepting his, and if Sir Joseph says that, is it
not our
duty to believe him?
ALL. Well spoke! well spoke!
DICK. You're on a wrong tack, and so is he. He means well, but
he don't
know. When people have to obey other people's orders, equality's
out of
the question.
ALL (recoiling). Horrible! horrible!
BOAT. Dick Deadeye, if you go for to infuriate this here ship's
too far, I won't answer for being able to hold 'em in. I'm
that's what I am--shocked!
RALPH. Messmates, my mind's made up. I'll speak to the
daughter, and tell her, like an honest man, of the honest love I
have for
ALL. Aye, aye!
RALPH. Is not my love as good as another's? Is not my heart as
true as
another's? Have I not hands and eyes and ears and limbs like
ALL. Aye, Aye!
RALPH. True, I lack birth--
BOAT. You've a berth on board this very ship.
RALPH. Well said--I had forgotten that. Messmates--what do you
say? Do
you approve my determination?
ALL. We do.
DICK. I don t.
BOAT. What is to be done with this here hopeless chap? Let us
sing him
the song that Sir Joseph has kindly composed for us. Perhaps it
bring this here miserable creetur to a proper state of mind.
A British tar is a soaring soul,
As free as a mountain bird,
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word.
His nose should pant and his lip should curl,
His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl,
His bosom should heave and his heart should glow,
And his fist be ever ready for a knock-down blow.
CHORUS.--His nose should pant, etc.
His eyes should flash with an inborn fire,
His brow with scorn be wrung;
He never should bow down to a domineering frown,
Or the tang of a tyrant tongue.
His foot should stamp and his throat should growl,
His hair should twirl and his face should scowl;
His eyes should flash and his breast protrude,
And this should be his customary attitude--(pose).
CHORUS.--His foot should stamp, etc.
[All dance off excepting RALPH, who remains, leaning pensively
Enter JOSEPHINE from cabin
JOS. It is useless--Sir Joseph's attentions nauseate me. I know
that he
is a truly great and good man, for he told me so himself, but to
me he
seems tedious, fretful, and dictatorial. Yet his must be a mind
of no
common order, or he would not dare to teach my dear father to
dance a
hornpipe on the cabin table. (Sees RALPH.) Ralph Rackstraw!
(Overcome by
RALPH. Aye, lady--no other than poor Ralph Rackstraw!
JOS. (aside). How my heart beats! (Aloud) And why poor, Ralph?
RALPH. I am poor in the essence of happiness, lady--rich only
in neverending
unrest. In me there meet a combination of antithetical
which are at eternal war with one another. Driven hither by
influences--thither by subjective emotions--wafted one moment
blazing day, by mocking hope--plunged the next into the Cimmerian
darkness of tangible despair, I am but a living ganglion of
irreconcilable antagonisms. I hope I make myself clear, lady?
JOS. Perfectly. (Aside.) His simple eloquence goes to my heart.
Oh, if
I dared--but no, the thought is madness! (Aloud.) Dismiss these
fancies, they torture you but needlessly. Come, make one effort.
RALPH (aside). I will--one. (Aloud.) Josephine!
JOS. (Indignantly). Sir!
RALPH. Aye, even though Jove's armoury were launched at the
head of the
audacious mortal whose lips, unhallowed by relationship, dared to
that precious word, yet would I breathe it once, and then
perchance be
silent evermore. Josephine, in one brief breath I will
concentrate the
hopes, the doubts, the anxious fears of six weary months.
Josephine, I am
a British sailor, and I love you!
JOS. Sir, this audacity! (Aside.) Oh, my heart, my beating
(Aloud.) This unwarrantable presumption on the part of a common
(Aside.) Common! oh, the irony of the word! (Crossing, aloud.)
Oh, sir,
you forget the disparity in our ranks.
RALPH. I forget nothing, haughty lady. I love you desperately,
my life
is in your hand--I lay it at your feet! Give me hope, and what I
lack in
education and polite accomplishments, that I will endeavour to
Drive me to despair, and in death alone I shall look for
consolation. I
am proud and cannot stoop to implore. I have spoken and I wait
your word.
JOS. You shall not wait long. Your proffered love I haughtily
Go, sir, and learn to cast your eyes on some village maiden in
your own
poor rank--they should be lowered before your captain's daughter.
JOS. Refrain, audacious tar,
Your suit from pressing,
Remember what you are,
And whom addressing!
(Aside.) I'd laugh my rank to scorn
In union holy,
Were he more highly born
Or I more lowly!
RALPH. Proud lady, have your way,
Unfeeling beauty!
You speak and I obey,
It is my duty!
I am the lowliest tar
That sails the water,
And you, proud maiden, are
My captain's daughter!
(Aside.) My heart with anguish torn
Bows down before her,
She laughs my love to scorn,
Yet I adore her!
[Repeat refrain, ensemble, then exit JOSEPHINE into cabin.
RALPH. (Recit.) Can I survive this overbearing
Or live a life of mad despairing,
My proffered love despised, rejected?
No, no, it's not to be expected!
(Calling off.)
Messmates, ahoy!
Come here! Come here!
ALL. Aye, aye, my boy,
What cheer, what cheer?
Now tell us, pray,
Without delay,
What does she say--
What cheer, what cheer?
RALPH (to COUSIN HEBE). The maiden treats my suit with scorn,
Rejects my humble gift, my lady;
She says I am ignobly born,
And cuts my hopes adrift, my lady.
ALL. Oh, cruel one.
DICK. She spurns your suit? Oho! Oho!
I told you so, I told you so.
Shall { we } submit? Are { we } but slaves?
they they
Love comes alike to high and low--
Britannia's sailors rule the waves,
And shall they stoop to insult? No!
DICK. You must submit, you are but slaves;
A lady she! Oho! Oho!
You lowly toilers of the waves,
She spurns you all--I told you so!
RALPH. My friends, my leave of life I'm taking,
For oh, my heart, my heart is breaking.
When I am gone, oh, prithee tell
The maid that, as I died, I loved her well!
ALL (turning away, weeping). Of life, alas! his leave he's
For ah! his faithful heart is breaking;
When he is gone we'll surely tell
The maid that, as he died, he loved her well.
[During Chorus BOATSWAIN has loaded pistol, which he hands to
RALPH. Be warned, my messmates all
Who love in rank above you--
For Josephine I fall!
[Puts pistol to his head. All the sailors stop their
Enter JOSEPHINE on deck
JOS. Ah! stay your hand--I love you!
ALL. Ah! stay your hand--she loves you!
RALPH. (incredulously). Loves me?
JOS. Loves you!
ALL. Yes, yes--ah, yes,--she loves you!
Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
For now the sky is all serene;
The god of day--the orb of love--
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.
With wooing words and loving song,
We'll chase the lagging hours along,
And if {I find } the maiden coy,
we find
I'll } murmur forth decorous joy
In dreamy roundelays!
He thinks he's won his Josephine,
But though the sky is now serene,
A frowning thunderbolt above
May end their ill-assorted love
Which now is all ablaze.
Our captain, ere the day is gone,
Will be extremely down upon
The wicked men who art employ
To make his Josephine less coy
In many various ways. [Exit
JOS. This very night,
HEBE. With bated breath
RALPH. And muffled oar--
JOS. Without a light,
HEBE. As still as death,
RALPH. We'll steal ashore
JOS. A clergyman
RALPH. Shall make us one
BOAT, At half-past ten,
JOS. And then we can
RALPH Return, for none
BOAT. Can part them then!
ALL. This very night, etc.
(DICK appears at hatchway.)
DICK. Forbear, nor carry out the scheme you've planned;
She is a lady--you a foremast hand!
Remember, she's your gallant captain's daughter,
And you the meanest slave that crawls the water!
ALL. Back, vermin, back,
Nor mock us!
Back, vermin, back,
You shock us!
[Exit DICK
Let's give three cheers for the sailor's bride
Who casts all thought of rank aside--
Who gives up home and fortune too
For the honest love of a sailor true!
For a British tar is a soaring soul
As free as a mountain bird!
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word!
His foot should stamp and his throat should growl,
His hair should twirl and his face should scowl,
His eyes should flash and his breast protrude,
And this should be his customary attitude--(pose).
Same Scene. Night. Awning removed. Moonlight. CAPTAIN
singing on poop deck, and accompanying himself on a
mandolin. LITTLE
BUTTERCUP seated on quarterdeck, gazing sentimentally at
Fair moon, to thee I sing,
Bright regent of the heavens,
Say, why is everything
Either at sixes or at sevens?
I have lived hitherto
Free from breath of slander,
Beloved by all my crew--
A really popular commander.
But now my kindly crew rebel,
My daughter to a tar is partial,
Sir Joseph storms, and, sad to tell,
He threatens a court martial!
Fair moon, to thee I sing,
Bright regent of the heavens,
Say, why is everything
Either at sixes or at sevens?
BUT. How sweetly he carols forth his melody to the
moon! Of whom is he thinking? Of some high-born beauty? It may
be! Who is
poor Little Buttercup that she should expect his glance to fall
on one so
lowly! And yet if he knew--if he only knew!
CAPT. (coming down). Ah! Little Buttercup, still on board?
That is
not quite right, little one. It would have been more respectable
to have
gone on shore at dusk.
BUT, True, dear Captain--but the recollection of your sad
face seemed to chain me to the ship. I would fain see you smile
before I
CAPT. Ah! Little Buttercup, I fear it will be long before I
recover my accustomed cheerfulness, for misfortunes crowd upon
me, and
all my old friends seem to have turned against me!
BUT, Oh no--do not say "all", dear Captain. That were
unjust to
one, at least.
CAPT. True, for you are staunch to me. (Aside.) If ever I
gave my
heart again, methinks it would be to such a one as this! (Aloud.)
I am
touched to the heart by your innocent regard for me, and were we
differently situated, I think I could have returned it. But as it
is, I
fear I can never be more to you than a friend.
BUT, I understand! You hold aloof from me because you are
rich and
lofty--and I poor and lowly. But take care! The poor bumboat
woman has
gipsy blood in her veins, and she can read destinies.
CAPT. Destinies?
BUT. There is a change in store for you!
CAPT. A change?
BUT. Aye--be prepared!
BUT, Things are seldom what they seem,
Skim milk masquerades as cream;
Highlows pass as patent leathers;
Jackdaws strut in peacock's feathers.
CAPT. (puzzled). Very true,
So they do.
BUT. Black sheep dwell in every fold;
All that glitters is not gold;
Storks turn out to be but logs;
Bulls are but inflated frogs.
CAPT. (puzzled). So they be,
BUT. Drops the wind and stops the mill;
Turbot is ambitious brill;
Gild the farthing if you will,
Yet it is a farthing still.
CAPT. (puzzled). Yes, I know.
That is so.
Though to catch your drift I'm striving,
It is shady--it is shady;
I don't see at what you're driving,
Mystic lady--mystic lady.
(Aside.) Stern conviction's o'er me stealing,
That the mystic lady's dealing
In oracular revealing.
BUT. (aside).Stern conviction's o'er him stealing,
That the mystic lady's dealing
In oracular revealing.
Yes, I know--
That is so!
CAPT. Though I'm anything but clever,
I could talk like that for ever:
Once a cat was killed by care;
Only brave deserve the fair.
Very true,
So they do.
CAPT. Wink is often good as nod;
Spoils the child who spares the rod;
Thirsty lambs run foxy dangers;
Dogs are found in many mangers.
BUT. Frequentlee,
I agree.
Paw of cat the chestnut snatches;
Worn-out garments show new patches;
Only count the chick that hatches;
Men are grown-up catchy-catchies.
BUT. Yes, I know,
That is so.
(Aside.) Though to catch my drift he's striving,
I'll dissemble--I'll dissemble;
When he sees at what I'm driving,
Let him tremble--let him tremble!
Though a mystic tone { I } borrow,
You will } learn the truth with sorrow,
I shall
Here to-day and gone to-morrow;
Yes, I know--
That is so!
[At the end exit LITTLE BUTTERCUP
CAPT. Incomprehensible as her utterances are, I nevertheless
feel that
they are dictated by a sincere regard for me. But to what new
misery is
she referring? Time alone can tell!
SIR JOSEPH. Captain Corcoran, I am much disappointed with your
daughter. In fact, I don't think she will do.
CAPT. She won't do, Sir Joseph!
SIR JOSEPH. I'm afraid not. The fact is, that although I have
urged my
suit with as much eloquence as is consistent with an official
I have done so hitherto without success. How do you account for
CAPT. Really, Sir Joseph, I hardly know. Josephine is of course
sensible of your condescension.
SIR JOSEPH. She naturally would be.
CAPT. But perhaps your exalted rank dazzles her.
SIR JOSEPH. You think it does?
CAPT. I can hardly say; but she is a modest girl, and her
position is far below your own. It may be that she feels she is
worthy of you.
SIR JOSEPH. That is really a very sensible suggestion, and
more knowledge of human nature than I had given you credit for.
CAPT. See, she comes. If your lordship would kindly reason with
her and
assure her officially that it is a standing rule at the Admiralty
love levels all ranks, her respect for an official utterance
might induce
her to look upon your offer in its proper light.
SIR JOSEPH. It is not unlikely. I will adopt your suggestion.
But soft,
she is here. Let us withdraw, and watch our opportunity.
Enter JOSEPHINE from cabin. FIRST LORD and CAPTAIN retire
The hours creep on apace,
My guilty heart is quaking!
Oh, that I might retrace
The step that I am taking!
Its folly it were easy to be showing,
What I am giving up and whither going.
On the one hand, papa's luxurious home,
Hung with ancestral armour and old brasses,
Carved oak and tapestry from distant Rome,
Rare "blue and white" Venetian finger-glasses,
Rich oriental rugs, luxurious sofa pillows,
And everything that isn't old, from Gillow's.
And on the other, a dark and dingy room,
In some back street with stuffy children crying,
Where organs yell, and clacking housewives fume,
And clothes are hanging out all day a-drying.
With one cracked looking-glass to see your face
And dinner served up in a pudding basin!
A simple sailor, lowly born,
Unlettered and unknown,
Who toils for bread from early mom
Till half the night has flown!
No golden rank can he impart--
No wealth of house or land--
No fortune save his trusty heart
And honest brown right hand!
And yet he is so wondrous fair
That love for one so passing rare,
So peerless in his manly beauty,
Were little else than solemn duty!
Oh, god of love, and god of reason, say,
Which of you twain shall my poor heart obey!
SIR JOSEPH. Madam, it has been represented to me that you are
by my exalted rank. I desire to convey to you officially my
that if your hesitation is attributable to that circumstance, it
uncalled for.
JOS. Oh! then your lordship is of opinion that married
happiness is not
inconsistent with discrepancy in rank?
SIR JOSEPH. I am officially of that opinion.
JOS. That the high and the lowly may be truly happy together,
that they truly love one another?
SIR JOSEPH. Madam, I desire to convey to you officially my
opinion that
love is a platform upon which all ranks meet.
JOS. I thank you, Sir Joseph. I did hesitate, but I will
hesitate no
longer. (Aside.) He little thinks how eloquently he has pleaded
rival's cause!
CAPT. Never mind the why and wherefore,
Love can level ranks, and therefore,
Though his lordship's station's mighty,
Though stupendous be his brain,
Though your tastes are mean and flighty
And your fortune poor and plain,
CAPT. and Ring the merry bells on board-ship,
SIR JOSEPH. Rend the air with warbling wild,
For the union of { his } lordship
With a humble captain's child!
CAPT. For a humble captain's daughter--
JOS. For a gallant captain's daughter--
SIR JOSEPH. And a lord who rules the water--
JOS. (aside). And a tar who ploughs the water!
ALL. Let the air with joy be laden,
Rend with songs the air above,
For the union of a maiden
With the man who owns her love!
SIR JOSEPH. Never mind the why and wherefore,
Love can level ranks, and therefore,
Though your nautical relation (alluding to CAPT.)
In my set could scarcely pass--
Though you occupy a station
In the lower middle class--
CAPT. and Ring the merry bells on board-ship,
SIR JOSEPH Rend the air with warbling wild,
For the union of { my } lordship
With a humble captain's child!
CAPT. For a humble captain's daughter--
JOS. For a gallant captain's daughter--
SIR JOSEPH. And a lord who rules the water--
JOS. (aside). And a tar who ploughs the water!
ALL. Let the air with joy be laden,
Rend with songs the air above,
For the union of a maiden
With the man who owns her love!
JOS. Never mind the why and wherefore,
Love can level ranks, and therefore
I admit the jurisdiction;
Ably have you played your part;
You have carried firm conviction
To my hesitating heart.
CAPT. and Ring the merry bells on board-ship,
SIR JOSEPH. Rend the air with warbling wild,
For the union of { my } lordship
With a humble captain's child!
CAPT. For a humble captain's daughter--
JOS. For a gallant captain's daughter--
SIR JOSEPH. And a lord who rules the water--
JOS. (aside). And a tar who ploughs the water!
(Aloud.) Let the air with joy be laden.
CAPT. and SIR JOSEPH. Ring the merry bells on board-ship--
JOS. For the union of a maiden--
CAPT. and SIR JOSEPH. For her union with his lordship.
ALL. Rend with songs the air above
For the man who owns her love!
[Exit JOS.
CAPT. Sir Joseph, I cannot express to you my delight at the
result of your eloquence. Your argument was unanswerable.
SIR JOSEPH. Captain Corcoran, it is one of the happiest
of this glorious country that official utterances are invariably
as unanswerable. [Exit SIR
CAPT. At last my fond hopes are to be crowned. My only daughter
is to
be the bride of a Cabinet Minister. The prospect is Elysian.
(During this
speech DICK DEADEYE has entered.)
DICK. Captain.
CAPT. Deadeye! You here? Don't! (Recoiling from him.)
DICK. Ah, don't shrink from me, Captain. I'm unpleasant to look
at, and
my name's agin me, but I ain't as bad as I seem.
CAPT. What would you with me?
DICK (mysteriously). I'm come to give you warning.
CAPT. Indeed! do you propose to leave the Navy then?
DICK. No, no, you misunderstand me; listen!
DICK. Kind Captain, I've important information,
Sing hey, the kind commander that you are,
About a certain intimate relation,
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.
BOTH. The merry maiden and the tar.
CAPT. Good fellow, in conundrums you are speaking,
Sing hey, the mystic sailor that you are;
The answer to them vainly I am seeking;
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.
BOTH The merry maiden and the tar.
DICK. Kind Captain, your young lady is a-sighing,
Sing hey, the simple captain that you are,
This very might with Rackstraw to be flying;
Sing hey, the merry maiden and the tar.
BOTH. The merry maiden and the tar.
CAPT. Good fellow, you have given timely warning,
Sing hey, the thoughtful sailor that you are,
I'll talk to Master Rackstraw in the morning:
Sing hey, the cat-o'-nine-tails and the tar.
(Producing a
BOTH. The merry cat-o'-nine-tails and the tar!
CAPT. Dick Deadeye--I thank you for your warning--I will at
once take
means to arrest their flight. This boat cloak will afford me
disguise--So! (Envelops himself in a mysterious cloak, holding it
his face.)
DICK. Ha, ha! They are foiled--foiled--foiled!
Enter Crew on tiptoe, with RALPH and BOATSWAIN meeting
enters from cabin on tiptoe, with bundle of necessaries, and
accompanied by LITTLE BUTTERCUP.
Carefully on tiptoe stealing,
Breathing gently as we may,
Every step with caution feeling,
We will softly steal away.
(CAPTAIN stamps)--Chord.
ALL (much alarmed). Goodness me--
Why, what was that?
DICK. Silent be,
It was the cat!
ALL. (reassured). It was--it was the cat!
CAPT. (producing cat-o'-nine-tails). They're right, it was the
ALL. Pull ashore, in fashion steady,
Hymen will defray the fare,
For a clergyman is ready
To unite the happy pair!
(Stamp as before, and Chord.)
ALL. Goodness me,
Why, what was that?
DICK. Silent be,
Again the cat!
ALL. It was again that cat!
CAPT. (aside). They're right, it was the cat!
CAPT. (throwing off cloak). Hold! (All start.)
Pretty daughter of mine,
I insist upon knowing
Where you may be going
With these sons of the brine,
For my excellent crew,
Though foes they could thump any,
Are scarcely fit company,
My daughter, for you.
CREW. Now, hark at that, do!
Though foes we could thump any,
We are scarcely fit company
For a lady like you!
RALPH. Proud officer, that haughty lip uncurl!
Vain man, suppress that supercilious sneer,
For I have dared to love your matchless girl,
A fact well known to all my messmates here!
CAPT. Oh, horror!
RALPH and Jos. { I } humble, poor, and lowly born,
The meanest in the port division--
The butt of epauletted scorn--
The mark of quarter-deck derision--
Have } dare to raise { my } wormy eyes
Has his
Above the dust to which you'd mould { me
In manhood's glorious pride to rise,
I am } an Englishman--behold { me
He is him
ALL. He is an Englishman!
BOAT. He is an Englishman!
For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is an Englishman!
ALL. That he is an Englishman!
BOAT. For he might have been a Roosian,
A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
Or perhaps Itali-an!
ALL. Or perhaps Itali-an!
BOAT. But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
ALL. For in spite of all temptations, etc.
CAPT. (trying to repress his anger).
In uttering a reprobation
To any British tar,
I try to speak with moderation,
But you have gone too far.
I'm very sorry to disparage
A humble foremast lad,
But to seek your captain's child in marriage,
Why damme, it's too bad
[During this, COUSIN HEBE and FEMALE RELATIVES have entered.
ALL (shocked). Oh!
CAPT. Yes, damme, it's too bad!
ALL. Oh!
CAPT. and DICK DEADEYE. Yes, damme, it s too bad.
[During this, SIR JOSEPH has appeared on poop-deck. He is
at the bad language.
HEBE. Did you hear him? Did you hear him?
Oh, the monster overbearing!
Don't go near him--don't go near him--
He is swearing--he is swearing!
SIR JOSEPH. My pain and my distress,
I find it is not easy to express;
My amazement--my surprise--
You may learn from the expression of my eyes!
CAPT. My lord--one word--the facts are not before
The word was injudicious, I allow--
But hear my explanation, I implore you,
And you will be indignant too, I vow!
SIR JOSEPH. I will hear of no defence,
Attempt none if you're sensible.
That word of evil sense
Is wholly indefensible.
Go, ribald, get you hence
To your cabin with celerity.
This is the consequence
Of ill-advised asperity
[Exit CAPTAIN, disgraced, followed by
ALL. This is the consequence,
Of ill-advised asperity!
SIR JOSEPH. For I'll teach you all, ere long,
To refrain from language strong
For I haven't any sympathy for ill-bred
HEBE. No more have his sisters, nor his cousins,
nor his
ALL. For he is an Englishman, etc.
SIR JOSEPH. Now, tell me, my fine fellow--for you are a fine
RALPH. Yes, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. How came your captain so far to forget himself? I
am quite
sure you had given him no cause for annoyance.
RALPH, Please your honour, it was thus-wise. You see I'm only a
-a mere foremast hand--
SIR JOSEPH. Don't be ashamed of that. Your position as a topman
is a
very exalted one.
RALPH. Well, your honour, love burns as brightly in the
fo'c'sle as it
does on the quarter-deck, and Josephine is the fairest bud that
blossomed upon the tree of a poor fellow's wildest hopes.
Enter JOSEPHINE; she rushes to RALPH'S arms
JOS. Darling! (SIR JOSEPH horrified.)
RALPH. She is the figurehead of my ship of life--the bright
beacon that
guides me into my port of happiness--that the rarest, the purest
gem that
ever sparkled on a poor but worthy fellow's trusting brow!
ALL. Very pretty, very pretty!
SIR JOSEPH. Insolent sailor, you shall repent this outrage.
Seize him!
(Two Marines seize him and handcuff him.)
JOS. Oh, Sir Joseph, spare him, for I love him tenderly.
SIR JOSEPH. Pray, don't. I will teach this presumptuous mariner
discipline his affections. Have you such a thing as a dungeon on
ALL. We have!
DICK. They have!
SIR JOSEPH. Then load him with chains and take him there at
RALPH. Farewell, my own,
Light of my life, farewell!
For crime unknown
I go to a dungeon cell.
JOS. I will atone.
In the meantime farewell!
And all alone
Rejoice in your dungeon cell!
SIR JOSEPH. A bone, a bone
I'll pick with this sailor fell;
Let him be shown at once
At once to his dungeon cell.
He'll hear no tone
Of the maiden he loves so well!
No telephone
Communicates with his cell!
BUT. (mysteriously). But when is known
The secret I have to tell,
Wide will be thrown
The door of his dungeon cell.
ALL. For crime unknown
He goes to a dungeon cell!
[RALPH is led off in
SIR JOSEPH. My pain and my distress
Again it is not easy to express.
My amazement, my surprise,
Again you may discover from my eyes.
ALL. How terrible the aspect of his eyes!
BUT. Hold! Ere upon your loss
You lay much stress,
A long-concealed crime
I would confess.
A many years ago,
When I was young and charming,
As some of you may know,
I practised baby-farming.
ALL. Now this is most alarming!
When she was young and charming,
She practised baby-farming,
A many years ago.
BUT. Two tender babes I nursed:
One was of low condition,
The other, upper crust,
A regular patrician.
ALL (explaining to each other).
Now, this is the position:
One was of low condition,
The other a patrician,
A many years ago.
BUT. Oh, bitter is my cup!
However could I do it?
I mixed those children up,
And not a creature knew it!
ALL. However could you do it?
Some day, no doubt, you'll rue it,
Although no creature knew it,
So many years ago.
BUT. In time each little waif
Forsook his foster-mother,
The well born babe was Ralph--
Your captain was the other!!!
ALL. They left their foster-mother,
The one was Ralph, our brother,
Our captain was the other,
A many years ago.
SIR JOSEPH. Then I am to understand that Captain Corcoran and
were exchanged in childhood's happy hour--that Ralph is really
Captain, and the Captain is Ralph?
BUT. That is the idea I intended to convey, officially!
SIR JOSEPH. And very well you have conveyed it.
BUT. Aye! aye! yer 'onour.
SIR JOSEPH. Dear me! Let them appear before me, at once!
[RALPH. enters as CAPTAIN; CAPTAIN as a common sailor. JOSEPHINE
to his arms
JOS. My father--a common sailor!
CAPT. It is hard, is it not, my dear?
SIR JOSEPH. This is a very singular occurrence; I congratulate
both. (To RALPH.) Desire that remarkably fine seaman to step
RALPH. Corcoran. Three paces to the front--march!
CAPT. If what?
RALPH. If what? I don't think I understand you.
CAPT. If you please.
SIR JOSEPH. The gentleman is quite right. If you please.
RALPH. Oh! If you please. (CAPTAIN steps forward.)
SIR JOSEPH (to CAPTAIN).You are an extremely fine fellow.
CAPT. Yes, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. So it seems that you were Ralph, and Ralph was you.
CAPT. SO it seems, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. Well, I need not tell you that after this change in
condition, a marriage with your daughter will be out of the
CAPT. Don't say that, your honour--love levels all ranks.
SIR JOSEPH. It does to a considerable extent, but it does not
them as much as that. (Handing JOSEPHINE to RALPH.) Here -- take
sir, and mind you treat her kindly.
RALPH and JOS. Oh bliss, oh rapture!
CAPT. and BUT. Oh rapture, oh bliss!
SIR JOSEPH. Sad my lot and sorry,
What shall I do? I cannot live alone!
HEBE. Fear nothing--while I live I'll not desert you.
I'll soothe and comfort your declining days.
SIR JOSEPH. No, don't do that.
HEBE. Yes, but indeed I'd rather--
SIR JOSEPH (resigned). To-morrow morn our vows shall all be
Three loving pairs on the same day united!
Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
The clouded sky is now serene,
The god of day--the orb of love,
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.
With wooing words and loving song,
We'll chase the lagging hours along,
And if { he finds } the maiden coy,
I find
We'll murmur forth decorous joy,
In dreamy roundelay.
CAPT. For he's the Captain of the Pinafore.
ALL. And a right good captain too!
CAPT. And though before my fall
I was captain of you all,
I'm a member of the crew.
ALL. Although before his fall, etc.
CAPT. I shall marry with a wife,
In my humble rank of life! (turning to BUT.)
And you, my own, are she--
I must wander to and fro;
But wherever I may go,
I shall never be untrue to thee!
ALL. What, never?
CAPT. No, never!
ALL. What, never!
CAPT. Hardly ever!
ALL. Hardly ever be untrue to thee.
Then give three cheers, and one cheer more
For the former Captain of the Pinafore.
BUT. For he loves Little Buttercup, dear Little
Though I could never tell why;
But still he loves Buttercup, poor Little
Sweet Little Buttercup, aye!
ALL. For he loves, etc.
SIR JOSEPH. I'm the monarch of the sea,
And when I've married thee (to HEBE),
I'll be true to the devotion that my love
HEBE. Then good-bye to his sisters, and his
and his aunts,
Especially his cousins,
Whom he reckons up by dozens,
His sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
ALL. For he is an Englishman,
And he himself hath said it,
And it's greatly to his credit
That he is an Englishman!
The Peer and the Peri
PRIVATE WILLIS (of the Grenadier Guards)
STREPHON (an Arcadian Shepherd)
IOLANTHE (a Fairy, Strephon's Mother)
PHYLLIS (an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward of Chancery)
An Arcadian Landscape
Palace Yard, Westminster
SCENE.--An Arcadian Landscape. A river runs around the back of the
stage. A rustic bridge crosses the river.
Enter Fairies, led by Leila, Celia, and Fleta. They trip around
the stage, singing as they dance.
Tripping hither, tripping thither,
Nobody knows why or whither;
We must dance and we must sing
Round about our fairy ring!
We are dainty little fairies,
Ever singing, ever dancing;
We indulge in our vagaries
In a fashion most entrancing.
If you ask the special function
Of our never-ceasing motion,
We reply, without compunction,
That we haven't any notion!
No, we haven't any notion!
Tripping hither, etc.
If you ask us how we live,
Lovers all essentials give--
We can ride on lovers' sighs,
Warm ourselves in lovers' eyes,
Bathe ourselves in lovers' tears,
Clothe ourselves with lovers' fears,
Arm ourselves with lovers' darts,
Hide ourselves in lovers' hearts.
When you know us, you'll discover
That we almost live on lover!
Yes, we live on lover!
Tripping hither, etc.
(At the end of Chorus, all sigh wearily.)
CELIA. Ah, it's all very well, but since our Queen banished
Iolanthe, fairy revels have not been what they were!
LEILA. Iolanthe was the life and soul of Fairyland. Why, she
wrote all our songs and arranged all our dances! We sing her songs
and we trip her measures, but we don't enjoy ourselves!
FLETA. To think that five-and-twenty years have elapsed since
she was banished! What could she have done to have deserved so
terrible a punishment?
LEILA. Something awful! She married a mortal!
FLETA. Oh! Is it injudicious to marry a mortal?
LEILA. Injudicious? It strikes at the root of the whole
fairy system! By our laws, the fairy who marries a mortal dies!
CELIA. But Iolanthe didn't die!
(Enter Fairy Queen.)
QUEEN. No, because your Queen, who loved her with a
surpassing love, commuted her sentence to penal servitude for life,
on condition that she left her husband and never communicated with
him again!
LEILA. That sentence of penal servitude she is now working
out, on her head, at the bottom of that stream!
QUEEN. Yes, but when I banished her, I gave her all the
pleasant places of the earth to dwell in. I'm sure I never
intended that she should go and live at the bottom of a stream! It
makes me perfectly wretched to think of the discomfort she must
have undergone!
LEILA. Think of the damp! And her chest was always delicate.
QUEEN. And the frogs! Ugh! I never shall enjoy any peace of
mind until I know why Iolanthe went to live among the frogs!
FLETA. Then why not summon her and ask her?
QUEEN. Why? Because if I set eyes on her I should forgive
her at once!
CELIA. Then why not forgive her? Twenty-five years--it's a
long time!
LEILA. Think how we loved her!
QUEEN. Loved her? What was your love to mine? Why, she was
invaluable to me! Who taught me to curl myself inside a buttercup?
Iolanthe! Who taught me to swing upon a cobweb? Iolanthe! Who
taught me to dive into a dewdrop--to nestle in a nutshell--to
gambol upon gossamer? Iolanthe!
LEILA. She certainly did surprising things!
FLETA. Oh, give her back to us, great Queen, for your sake if
not for ours! (All kneel in supplication.)
QUEEN (irresolute). Oh, I should be strong, but I am weak!
I should be marble, but I am clay! Her punishment has been heavier
than I intended. I did not mean that she should live among the
frogs--and--well, well, it shall be as you wish--it shall be as you
From thy dark exile thou art summoned!
Come to our call--
Come, come, Iolanthe!
CELIA. Iolanthe!
LEILA. Iolanthe!
ALL. Come to our call, Iolanthe!
Iolanthe, come!
(Iolanthe rises from the water. She is clad in water-weeds. She
approaches the Queen with head bent and arms crossed.)
IOLANTHE. With humbled breast
And every hope laid low,
To thy behest,
Offended Queen, I bow!
QUEEN. For a dark sin against our fairy laws
We sent thee into life-long banishment;
But mercy holds her sway within our hearts--
Rise--thou art pardoned!
IOL. Pardoned!
ALL. Pardoned!
(Her weeds fall from her, and she appears clothed as a fairy. The
Queen places a diamond coronet on her head, and embraces her. The
others also embrace her.)
Welcome to our hearts again,
Iolanthe! Iolanthe!
We have shared thy bitter pain,
Iolanthe! Iolanthe!
Every heart and every hand
In our loving little band
Welcomes thee to Fairyland,
QUEEN. And now, tell me, with all the world to choose from,
why on earth did you decide to live at the bottom of that stream?
IOL. To be near my son, Strephon.
QUEEN. Bless my heart, I didn't know you had a son.
IOL. He was born soon after I left my husband by your royal
command--but he does not even know of his father's existence.
FLETA. How old is he?
IOL. Twenty-four.
LEILA. Twenty-four! No one, to look at you, would think you
had a son of twenty-four! But that's one of the advantages of
being immortal. We never grow old! Is he pretty?
IOL. He's extremely pretty, but he's inclined to be stout.
ALL (disappointed). Oh!
QUEEN. I see no objection to stoutness, in moderation.
CELIA. And what is he?
IOL. He's an Arcadian shepherd--and he loves Phyllis, a Ward
in Chancery.
CELIA. A mere shepherd! and he half a fairy!
IOL. He's a fairy down to the waist--but his legs are mortal.
ALL. Dear me!
QUEEN. I have no reason to suppose that I am more curious
than other people, but I confess I should like to see a person who
is a fairy down to the waist, but whose legs are mortal.
IOL. Nothing easier, for here he comes!
(Enter Strephon, singing and dancing and playing on a flageolet.
He does not see the Fairies, who retire up stage as he enters.)
Good morrow, good mother!
Good mother, good morrow!
By some means or other,
Pray banish your sorrow!
With joy beyond telling
My bosom is swelling,
So join in a measure
Expressive of pleasure,
For I'm to be married to-day--to-day--
Yes, I'm to be married to-day!
CHORUS (aside). Yes, he's to be married to-day--to-day--
Yes, he's to be married to-day!
IOL. Then the Lord Chancellor has at last given his consent
to your marriage with his beautiful ward, Phyllis?
STREPH. Not he, indeed. To all my tearful prayers he answers
me, "A shepherd lad is no fit helpmate for a Ward of Chancery." I
stood in court, and there I sang him songs of Arcadee, with
flageolet accompaniment--in vain. At first he seemed amused, so
did the Bar; but quickly wearying of my song and pipe, bade me get
out. A servile usher then, in crumpled bands and rusty bombazine,
led me, still singing, into Chancery Lane! I'll go no more; I'll
marry her to-day, and brave the upshot, be it what it may! (Sees
Fairies.) But who are these?
IOL. Oh, Strephon! rejoice with me, my Queen has pardoned
STREPH. Pardoned you, mother? This is good news indeed.
IOL. And these ladies are my beloved sisters.
STREPH. Your sisters! Then they are--my aunts!
QUEEN. A pleasant piece of news for your bride on her wedding
STREPH. Hush! My bride knows nothing of my fairyhood. I
dare not tell her, lest it frighten her. She thinks me mortal, and
prefers me so.
LEILA. Your fairyhood doesn't seem to have done you much
STREPH. Much good! My dear aunt! it's the curse of my
existence! What's the use of being half a fairy? My body can
creep through a keyhole, but what's the good of that when my legs
are left kicking behind? I can make myself invisible down to the
waist, but that's of no use when my legs remain exposed to view!
My brain is a fairy brain, but from the waist downwards I'm a
gibbering idiot. My upper half is immortal, but my lower half
grows older every day, and some day or other must die of old age.
What's to become of my upper half when I've buried my lower half I
really don't know!
FAIRIES. Poor fellow!
QUEEN. I see your difficulty, but with a fairy brain you
should seek an intellectual sphere of action. Let me see. I've a
borough or two at my disposal. Would you like to go into
IOL. A fairy Member! That would be delightful!
STREPH. I'm afraid I should do no good there--you see, down
to the waist, I'm a Tory of the most determined description, but my
legs are a couple of confounded Radicals, and, on a division,
they'd be sure to take me into the wrong lobby. You see, they're
two to one, which is a strong working majority.
QUEEN. Don't let that distress you; you shall be returned as
a Liberal-Conservative, and your legs shall be our peculiar care.
STREPH. (bowing). I see your Majesty does not do things by
QUEEN. No, we are fairies down to the feet.
QUEEN. Fare thee well, attractive stranger.
FAIRIES. Fare thee well, attractive stranger.
QUEEN. Shouldst thou be in doubt or danger,
Peril or perplexitee,
Call us, and we'll come to thee!
FAIRIES. Aye! Call us, and we'll come to thee!
Tripping hither, tripping thither,
Nobody knows why or whither;
We must now be taking wing
To another fairy ring!
(Fairies and Queen trip off, Iolanthe, who takes an affectionate
farewell of her son, going off last.)
(Enter Phyllis, singing and dancing, and accompanying herself on a
Good morrow, good lover!
Good lover, good morrow!
I prithee discover,
Steal, purchase, or borrow
Some means of concealing
The care you are feeling,
And join in a measure
Expressive of pleasure,
For we're to be married to-day--to-day!
Yes, we're to be married to-day!
BOTH. Yes, we're to be married, etc.
STREPH. (embracing her). My Phyllis! And to-day we are to be
made happy for ever.
PHYL. Well, we're to be married.
STREPH. It's the same thing.
PHYL. I suppose it is. But oh, Strephon, I tremble at the
step I'm taking! I believe it's penal servitude for life to marry
a Ward of Court without the Lord Chancellor's consent! I shall be
of age in two years. Don't you think you could wait two years?
STREPH. Two years. Have you ever looked in the glass?
PHYL. No, never.
STREPH. Here, look at that (showing her a pocket mirror), and
tell me if you think it rational to expect me to wait two years?
PHYL. (looking at herself). No. You're quite right--it's
asking too much. One must be reasonable.
STREPH. Besides, who knows what will happen in two years?
Why, you might fall in love with the Lord Chancellor himself by
that time!
PHYL. Yes. He's a clean old gentleman.
STREPH. As it is, half the House of Lords are sighing at your
PHYL. The House of Lords are certainly extremely attentive.
STREPH. Attentive? I should think they were! Why did
five-and-twenty Liberal Peers come down to shoot over your
grass-plot last autumn? It couldn't have been the sparrows. Why
did five-and-twenty Conservative Peers come down to fish your pond?
Don't tell me it was the gold-fish! No, no--delays are dangerous,
and if we are to marry, the sooner the better.
PHYLLIS. None shall part us from each other,
One in life and death are we:
All in all to one another--
I to thee and thou to me!
BOTH. Thou the tree and I the flower--
Thou the idol; I the throng--
Thou the day and I the hour--
Thou the singer; I the song!
STREPH. All in all since that fond meeting
When, in joy, I woke to find
Mine the heart within thee beating,
Mine the love that heart enshrined!
BOTH. Thou the stream and I the willow--
Thou the sculptor; I the clay--
Thou the Ocean; I the billow--
Thou the sunrise; I the day!
(Exeunt Strephon and Phyllis
(March. Enter Procession of Peers.)
Loudly let the trumpet bray!
Proudly bang the sounding brasses!
Tzing! Boom!
As upon its lordly way
This unique procession passes,
Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes!
Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses!
Blow the trumpets, bang the brasses!
Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
We are peers of highest station,
Paragons of legislation,
Pillars of the British nation!
Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!
(Enter the Lord Chancellor, followed by his train-bearer.)
The Law is the true embodiment
Of everything that's excellent.
It has no kind of fault or flaw,
And I, my Lords, embody the Law.
The constitutional guardian I
Of pretty young Wards in Chancery,
All very agreeable girls--and none
Are over the age of twenty-one.
A pleasant occupation for
A rather susceptible Chancellor!
ALL. A pleasant, etc.
But though the compliment implied
Inflates me with legitimate pride,
It nevertheless can't be denied
That it has its inconvenient side.
For I'm not so old, and not so plain,
And I'm quite prepared to marry again,
But there'd be the deuce to pay in the Lords
If I fell in love with one of my Wards!
Which rather tries my temper, for
I'm such a susceptible Chancellor!
ALL. Which rather, etc.
And every one who'd marry a Ward
Must come to me for my accord,
And in my court I sit all day,
Giving agreeable girls away,
With one for him--and one for he--
And one for you--and one for ye--
And one for thou--and one for thee--
But never, oh, never a one for me!
Which is exasperating for
A highly susceptible Chancellor!
ALL. Which is, etc.
(Enter Lord Tolloller.)
LORD TOLL. And now, my Lords, to the business of the day.
LORD CH. By all means. Phyllis, who is a Ward of Court, has
so powerfully affected your Lordships, that you have appealed to me
in a body to give her to whichever one of you she may think proper
to select, and a noble Lord has just gone to her cottage to request
her immediate attendance. It would be idle to deny that I, myself,
have the misfortune to be singularly attracted by this young
person. My regard for her is rapidly undermining my constitution.
Three months ago I was a stout man. I need say no more. If I
could reconcile it with my duty, I should unhesitatingly award her
to myself, for I can conscientiously say that I know no man who is
so well fitted to render her exceptionally happy. (Peers: Hear,
hear!) But such an award would be open to misconstruction, and
therefore, at whatever personal inconvenience, I waive my claim.
LORD TOLL. My Lord, I desire, on the part of this House, to
express its sincere sympathy with your Lordship's most painful
LORD CH. I thank your Lordships. The feelings of a Lord
Chancellor who is in love with a Ward of Court are not to be
envied. What is his position? Can he give his own consent to his
own marriage with his own Ward? Can he marry his own Ward without
his own consent? And if he marries his own Ward without his own
consent, can he commit himself for contempt of his own Court? And
if he commit himself for contempt of his own Court, can he appear
by counsel before himself, to move for arrest of his own judgement?
Ah, my Lords, it is indeed painful to have to sit upon a woolsack
which is stuffed with such thorns as these!
(Enter Lord Mountararat.)
LORD MOUNT. My Lord, I have much pleasure in announcing that
I have succeeded in inducing the young person to present herself at
the Bar of this House.
(Enter Phyllis.)
My well-loved Lord and Guardian dear,
You summoned me, and I am here!
Oh, rapture, how beautiful!
How gentle--how dutiful!
Of all the young ladies I know
This pretty young lady's the fairest;
Her lips have the rosiest show,
Her eyes are the richest and rarest.
Her origin's lowly, it's true,
But of birth and position I've plenty;
I've grammar and spelling for two,
And blood and behaviour for twenty!
Her origin's lowly, it's true,
I've grammar and spelling for two;
CHORUS. Of birth and position he's plenty,
With blood and behaviour for twenty!
Though the views of the House have diverged
On every conceivable motion,
All questions of Party are merged
In a frenzy of love and devotion;
If you ask us distinctly to say
What Party we claim to belong to,
We reply, without doubt or delay,
The Party I'm singing this song to!
I'm very much pained to refuse,
But I'll stick to my pipes and my tabors;
I can spell all the words that I use,
And my grammar's as good as my neighbours'.
As for birth--I was born like the rest,
My behaviour is rustic but hearty,
And I know where to turn for the best,
When I want a particular Party!
Though her station is none of the best,
I suppose she was born like the rest;
And she knows where to look for her hearty,
When she wants a particular Party!
Nay, tempt me not.
To rank I'll not be bound;
In lowly cot
Alone is virtue found!
CHORUS. No, no; indeed high rank will never hurt you,
The Peerage is not destitute of virtue.
Spurn not the nobly born
With love affected,
Nor treat with virtuous scorn
The well-connected.
High rank involves no shame--
We boast an equal claim
With him of humble name
To be respected!
Blue blood! blue blood!
When virtuous love is sought
Thy power is naught,
Though dating from the Flood,
Blue blood! Ah, blue blood!
CHORUS. When virtuous love is sought, etc.
Spare us the bitter pain
Of stern denials,
Nor with low-born disdain
Augment our trials.
Hearts just as pure and fair
May beat in Belgrave Square
As in the lowly air
Of Seven Dials!
Blue blood! blue blood!
Of what avail art thou
To serve us now?
Though dating from the Flood,
Blue blood! Ah, blue blood!
CHORUS. Of what avail art thou, etc.
My Lords, it may not be.
With grief my heart is riven!
You waste your time on me,
For ah! my heart is given!
ALL. Given!
PHYL. Yes, given!
ALL. Oh, horror!!!
And who has dared to brave our high displeasure,
And thus defy our definite command?
(Enter Strephon.)
STREPH. 'Tis I--young Strephon! mine this priceless treasure!
Against the world I claim my darling's hand!
(Phyllis rushes to his arms.)
A shepherd I--
ALL. A shepherd he!
STREPH. Of Arcady-
ALL. Of Arcadee!
STREPH. Betrothed are we!
ALL. Betrothed are they--
STREPH. And mean to be-
ALL. Espoused to-day!
A shepherd I A shepherd he
Of Arcady, Of Arcadee,
Betrothed are we, Betrothed is he,
And mean to be And means to be
Espoused to-day! Espoused to-day!
(aside to each other).
'Neath this blow,
Worse than stab of dagger--
Though we mo-
Mentarily stagger,
In each heart
Proud are we innately--
Let's depart,
Dignified and stately!
ALL. Let's depart,
Dignified and stately!
Though our hearts she's badly bruising,
In another suitor choosing,
Let's pretend it's most amusing.
Ha! ha! ha! Tan-ta-ra!
(Exeunt all the Peers, marching round stage with much dignity.
Lord Chancellor separates Phyllis from Strephon and orders her off.
She follows Peers. Manent Lord Chancellor and Strephon.)
LORD CH. Now, sir, what excuse have you to offer for having
disobeyed an order of the Court of Chancery?
STREPH. My Lord, I know no Courts of Chancery; I go by
Nature's Acts of Parliament. The bees--the breeze--the seas--the
rooks--the brooks--the gales--the vales--the fountains and the
mountains cry, "You love this maiden--take her, we command you!"
'Tis writ in heaven by the bright barbed dart that leaps forth into
lurid light from each grim thundercloud. The very rain pours forth
her sad and sodden sympathy! When chorused Nature bids me take my
love, shall I reply, "Nay, but a certain Chancellor forbids it"?
Sir, you are England's Lord High Chancellor, but are you Chancellor
of birds and trees, King of the winds and Prince of thunderclouds?
LORD CH. No. It's a nice point. I don't know that I ever
met it before. But my difficulty is that at present there's no
evidence before the Court that chorused Nature has interested
herself in the matter.
STREPH. No evidence! You have my word for it. I tell you
that she bade me take my love.
LORD CH. Ah! but, my good sir, you mustn't tell us what she
told you--it's not evidence. Now an affidavit from a thunderstorm,
or a few words on oath from a heavy shower, would meet with all the
attention they deserve.
STREPH. And have you the heart to apply the prosaic rules of
evidence to a case which bubbles over with poetical emotion?
LORD CH. Distinctly. I have always kept my duty strictly
before my eyes, and it is to that fact that I owe my advancement to
my present distinguished position.
When I went to the Bar as a very young man,
(Said I to myself--said I),
I'll work on a new and original plan,
(Said I to myself--said I),
I'll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney has sent me a brief,
(Said I to myself--said I!).
Ere I go into court I will read my brief through
(Said I to myself--said I),
And I'll never take work I'm unable to do
(Said I to myself-said I),
My learned profession I'll never disgrace
By taking a fee with a grin on my face,
When I haven't been there to attend to the case
(Said I to myself--said I!).
I'll never throw dust in a juryman's eyes
(Said I to myself--said I),
Or hoodwink a judge who is not over-wise
(Said I to myself--said I),
Or assume that the witnesses summoned in force
In Exchequer, Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, or Divorce,
Have perjured themselves as a matter of course
(Said I to myself--said I!).
In other professions in which men engage
(Said I to myself said I),
The Army, the Navy, the Church, and the Stage
(Said I to myself--said I),
Professional licence, if carried too far,
Your chance of promotion will certainly mar--
And I fancy the rule might apply to the Bar
(Said I to myself--said I!).
(Exit Lord
(Enter Iolanthe)
STREPH. Oh, Phyllis, Phyllis! To be taken from you just as
I was on the point of making you my own! Oh, it's too much--it's
too much!
IOL. (to Strephon, who is in tears). My son in tears--and on
his wedding day!
STREPH. My wedding day! Oh, mother, weep with me, for the
Law has interposed between us, and the Lord Chancellor has
separated us for ever!
IOL. The Lord Chancellor! (Aside.) Oh, if he did but know!
STREPH. (overhearing her). If he did but know what?
IOL. No matter! The Lord Chancellor has no power over you.
Remember you are half a fairy. You can defy him--down to the
STREPH. Yes, but from the waist downwards he can commit me to
prison for years! Of what avail is it that my body is free, if my
legs are working out seven years' penal servitude?
IOL. True. But take heart--our Queen has promised you her
special protection. I'll go to her and lay your peculiar case
before her.
STREPH. My beloved mother! how can I repay the debt I owe
(As it commences, the Peers appear at the back, advancing unseen
and on tiptoe. Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller lead Phyllis
between them, who listens in horror to what she hears.)
STREPH. (to Iolanthe). When darkly looms the day,
And all is dull and grey,
To chase the gloom away,
On thee I'll call!
PHYL. (speaking aside to Lord Mountararat). What was that?
LORD MOUNT. (aside to Phyllis).
I think I heard him say,
That on a rainy day,
To while the time away,
On her he'd call!
CHORUS. We think we heard him say, etc.
(Phyllis much agitated at her lover's supposed faithlessness.)
IOL. (to Strephon). When tempests wreck thy bark,
And all is drear and dark,
If thou shouldst need an Ark,
I'll give thee one!
PHYL. (speaking aside to Lord Tolloller). What was that?
LORD TOLL. (aside to Phyllis).
I heard the minx remark,
She'd meet him after dark,
Inside St James's Park,
And give him one!
CHORUS. We heard the minx remark, etc.
PHYL. The prospect's very bad.
My heart so sore and sad
Will never more be glad
As summer's sun.
The prospect's not so bad,
My/Thy heart so sore and sad
May very soon be glad
As summer's sun;
For when the sky is dark
And tempests wreck his/thy/my bark,
he should
If thou shouldst need an Ark,
I should
She'll him
I'll give thee one!
PHYL. (revealing herself). Ah!
(Iolanthe and Strephon much confused.)
PHYL. Oh, shameless one, tremble!
Nay, do not endeavour
Thy fault to dissemble,
We part--and for ever!
I worshipped him blindly,
He worships another--
STREPH. Attend to me kindly,
This lady's my mother!
TOLL. This lady's his what?
STREPH. This lady's my mother!
TENORS. This lady's his what?
BASSES. He says she's his mother!
(They point derisively to Iolanthe, laughing heartily at her. She
goes for protection to Strephon.)
(Enter Lord Chancellor. Iolanthe veils herself.)
LORD CH. What means this mirth unseemly,
That shakes the listening earth?
LORD TOLL. The joke is good extremely,
And justifies our mirth.
LORD MOUNT. This gentleman is seen,
With a maid of seventeen,
A-taking of his dolce far niente;
And wonders he'd achieve,
For he asks us to believe
She's his mother--and he's nearly five-and-twenty!
LORD CH. (sternly). Recollect yourself, I pray,
And be careful what you say--
As the ancient Romans said, festina lente.
For I really do not see
How so young a girl could be
The mother of a man of five-and-twenty.
ALL. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
STREPH. My Lord, of evidence I have no dearth--
She is--has been--my mother from my birth!
In babyhood
Upon her lap I lay,
With infant food
She moistened my clay;
Had she withheld
The succour she supplied,
By hunger quelled,
Your Strephon might have died!
LORD CH. (much moved).
Had that refreshment been denied,
Indeed our Strephon might have died!
ALL (much affected).
Had that refreshment been denied,
Indeed our Strephon might have died!
LORD MOUNT. But as she's not
His mother, it appears,
Why weep these hot
Unnecessary tears?
And by what laws
Should we so joyously
Rejoice, because
Our Strephon did not die?
Oh rather let us pipe our eye
Because our Strephon did not die!
ALL. That's very true--let's pipe our eye
Because our Strephon did not die!
(All weep. Iolanthe, who has succeeded in hiding her face from
Lord Chancellor, escapes unnoticed.)
PHYL. Go, traitorous one--for ever we must part:
To one of you, my Lords, I give my heart!
ALL. Oh, rapture!
STREPH. Hear me, Phyllis, ere you leave me.
PHYL. Not a word--you did deceive me.
ALL. Not a word--you did deceive her.
For riches and rank I do not long--
Their pleasures are false and vain;
I gave up the love of a lordly throng
For the love of a simple swain.
But now that simple swain's untrue,
With sorrowful heart I turn to you--
A heart that's aching,
Quaking, breaking,
As sorrowful hearts are wont to do!
The riches and rank that you befall
Are the only baits you use,
So the richest and rankiest of you all
My sorrowful heart shall choose.
As none are so noble--none so rich
As this couple of lords, I'll find a niche
In my heart that's aching,
Quaking, breaking,
For one of you two-and I don't care which!
PHYL. (to Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller).
To you I give my heart so rich!
ALL (puzzled). To which?
PHYL. I do not care!
To you I yield--it is my doom!
ALL. To whom?
PHYL. I'm not aware!
I'm yours for life if you but choose.
ALL. She's whose?
PHYL. That's your affair!
I'll be a countess, shall I not?
ALL. Of what?
PHYL. I do not care!
ALL. Lucky little lady!
Strephon's lot is shady;
Rank, it seems, is vital,
"Countess" is the title,
But of what I'm not aware!
(Enter Strephon.)
STREPH. Can I inactive see my fortune fade?
No, no!
PEERS. Ho, ho!
STREPH. Mighty protectress, hasten to my aid!
(Enter Fairies, tripping, headed by Celia, Leila, and Fleta, and
followed by Queen.)
CHORUS Tripping hither, tripping thither.
OF Nobody knows why or whither;
FAIRIES Why you want us we don't know,
But you've summoned us, and so
Enter all the little fairies
To their usual tripping measure!
To oblige you all our care is--
Tell us, pray, what is your pleasure!
STREPH. The lady of my love has caught me talking to another--
PEERS. Oh, fie! young Strephon is a rogue!
STREPH. I tell her very plainly that the lady is my mother--
PEERS. Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
STREPH. She won't believe my statement, and declares we must be
Because on a career of double-dealing I have started,
Then gives her hand to one of these, and leaves me
PEERS. Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
QUEEN. Ah, cruel ones, to separate two lovers from each other!
FAIRIES. Oh, fie! our Strephon's not a rogue!
QUEEN. You've done him an injustice, for the lady is his mother!
FAIRIES. Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
LORD CH. That fable perhaps may serve his turn as well as any
(Aside.) I didn't see her face, but if they fondled one
And she's but seventeen--I don't believe it was his
Taradiddle, taradiddle.
ALL. Tol lol lay!
LORD TOLL. I have often had a use
For a thorough-bred excuse
Of a sudden (which is English for "repente"),
But of all I ever heard
This is much the most absurd,
For she's seventeen, and he is five-and-twenty!
ALL. Though she is seventeen, and he is four or
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!
LORD MOUNT. Now, listen, pray to me,
For this paradox will be
Carried, nobody at all contradicente.
Her age, upon the date
Of his birth, was minus eight,
If she's seventeen, and he is five-and-twenty!
PEERS and FAIRIES. If she is seventeen, and he is only
ALL. To say she is his mother is an utter bit of folly!
Oh, fie! our Strephon is a rogue!
Perhaps his brain is addled, and it's very melancholy!
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
I wouldn't say a word that could be reckoned as
But to find a mother younger than her son is very
And that's a kind of mother that is usually spurious.
Taradiddle, taradiddle, tol lol lay!
LORD CH. Go away, madam;
I should say, madam,
You display, madam,
Shocking taste.
It is rude, madam,
To intrude, madam,
With your brood, madam,
You come here, madam,
Interfere, madam,
With a peer, madam.
(I am one.)
You're aware, madam,
What you dare, madam,
So take care, madam,
And begone!
Let us stay, madam; Go away, madam;
I should say, madam, I should say, madam,
They display, madam, You display, madam,
Shocking taste. Shocking taste.
It is rude, madam, It is rude, madam,
To allude, madam, To intrude, madam,
To your brood, madam, With your brood, madam,
Brazen-faced! Brazen-faced!
We don't fear, madam, You come here, madam,
Any peer, madam, Interfere, madam,
Though, my dear madam, With a peer, madam,
This is one. (I am one.)
They will stare, madam, You're aware, madam,
When aware, madam, What you dare, madam,
What they dare, madam-- So take care, madam,
What they've done! And begone!
QUEEN. Bearded by these puny mortals!
(furious). I will launch from fairy portals
All the most terrific thunders
In my armoury of wonders!
PHYL. (aside). Should they launch terrific wonders,
All would then repent their blunders.
Surely these must be immortals.
QUEEN. Oh! Chancellor unwary
It's highly necessary
Your tongue to teach
Respectful speech--
Your attitude to vary!
Your badinage so airy,
Your manner arbitrary,
Are out of place
When face to face
With an influential Fairy.
ALL THE PEERS We never knew
(aside). We were talking to
An influential Fairy!
LORD CH. A plague on this vagary,
I'm in a nice quandary!
Of hasty tone
With dames unknown
I ought to be more chary;
It seems that she's a fairy
From Andersen's library,
And I took her for
The proprietor
Of a Ladies' Seminary!
PEERS. We took her for
The proprietor
Of a Ladies' Seminary!
QUEEN. When next your Houses do assemble,
You may tremble!
CELIA. Our wrath, when gentlemen offend us,
Is tremendous!
LEILA. They meet, who underrate our calling,
Doom appalling!
QUEEN. Take down our sentence as we speak it,
And he shall wreak it!
PEERS. Oh, spare us!
QUEEN. Henceforth, Strephon, cast away
Crooks and pipes and ribbons so gay--
Flocks and herds that bleat and low;
Into Parliament you shall go!
ALL. Into Parliament he shall go!
Backed by our supreme authority,
He'll command a large majority!
Into Parliament he shall go!
QUEEN. In the Parliamentary hive,
Liberal or Conservative--
Whig or Tory--I don't know--
But into Parliament you shall go!
ALL. Into Parliament, etc.
QUEEN (speaking through music).
Every bill and every measure
That may gratify his pleasure,
Though your fury it arouses,
Shall be passed by both your Houses!
QUEEN. You shall sit, if he sees reason,
Through the grouse and salmon season;
QUEEN. He shall end the cherished rights
You enjoy on Friday nights:
QUEEN. He shall prick that annual blister,
Marriage with deceased wife's sister:
PEERS. Mercy!
QUEEN. Titles shall ennoble, then,
All the Common Councilmen:
PEERS. Spare us!
QUEEN. Peers shall teem in Christendom,
And a Duke's exalted station
Be attainable by Com-
Petitive Examination!
Oh, horror! Their horror
They can't dissemble
Nor hide the fear that makes them
Young Strephon is the kind of lout With Strephon for your foe, no
We do not care a fig about! A fearful prospect opens out,
We cannot say And who shall say
What evils may What evils may
Result in consequence. Result in consequence?
But lordly vengeance will pursue A hideous vengeance will pursue
All kinds of common people who All noblemen who venture to
Oppose our views, Opppose his views,
Or boldly choose Or boldly choose
To offer us offence. To offer him offence.
He'd better fly at humbler game, 'Twill plunge them into grief
and shame;
Or our forbearance he must claim, His kind forbearance they must
If he'd escape If they'd escape
In any shape In any shape
A very painful wrench! A very painful wrench.
Your powers we dauntlessly pooh-pooh: Although our threats you
now pooh-pooh,
A dire revenge will fall on you. A dire revenge will fall on you,
If you besiege Should he besiege
Our high prestige-- Your high prestige--
(The word "prestige" is French). The word "prestige" is French).
PEERS. Our lordly style
You shall not quench
With base canaille!
FAIRIES. (That word is French.)
PEERS. Distinction ebbs
Before a herd
Of vulgar plebs!
FAIRIES. (A Latin word.)
PEERS. 'Twould fill with joy,
And madness stark
The hoi polloi!
FAIRIES. (A Greek remark.)
PEERS. One Latin word, one Greek remark,
And one that's French.
FAIRIES. Your lordly style
We'll quickly quench
With base canaille!
PEERS. (That word is French.)
FAIRIES. Distinction ebbs
Before a herd
Of vulgar plebs!
PEERS. (A Latin word.)
FAIRIES. 'Twill fill with joy
And madness stark
The hoi polloi!
PEERS. (A Greek remark.)
FAIRIES. One Latin word, one Greek remark,
And one that's French.
You needn't wait: We will not wait:
Away you fly! We go sky-high!
Your threatened hate Our threatened hate
We won't defy! You won't defy!
(Fairies threaten Peers with their wands. Peers kneel as begging
for merry. Phyllis implores Strephon to relent. He casts her from
him, and she falls fainting into the arms of Lord Mountararat and
Lord Tolloller.)
Scene.--Palace Yard, Westminster. Westminster Hall, L. Clock
tower up, R.C. Private Willis discovered on sentry, R. Moonlight.
When all night long a chap remains
On sentry-go, to chase monotony
He exercises of his brains,
That is, assuming that he's got any.
Though never nurtured in the lap
Of luxury, yet I admonish you,
I am an intellectual chap,
And think of things that would astonish you.
I often think it's comical--Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal, lal, la!
When in that House M.P.'s divide,
If they've a brain and cerebellum, too,
They've got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.
But then the prospect of a lot
Of dull M. P.'s in close proximity,
All thinking for themselves, is what
No man can face with equanimity.
Then let's rejoice with loud Fal la--Fal la la!
That Nature always does contrive--Fal lal la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal lal la!
(Enter Fairies, with Celia, Leila, and Fleta. They trip round
Strephon's a Member of Parliament!
Carries every Bill he chooses.
To his measures all assent--
Showing that fairies have their uses.
Whigs and Tories
Dim their glories,
Giving an ear to all his stories--
Lords and Commons are both in the blues!
Strephon makes them shake in their shoes!
Shake in their shoes!
Shake in their shoes!
Strephon makes them shake in their shoes!
(Enter Peers from Westminster Hall.)
Strephon's a Member of Parliament!
Running a-muck of all abuses.
His unqualified assent
Somehow nobody now refuses.
Whigs and Tories
Dim their glories,
Giving an ear to all his stories
Carrying every Bill he may wish:
Here's a pretty kettle of fish!
Kettle of fish!
Kettle of fish!
Here's a pretty kettle of fish!
(Enter Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller from Westminster Hall.)
CELIA. You seem annoyed.
LORD MOUNT. Annoyed! I should think so! Why, this
ridiculous protege of yours is playing the deuce with everything!
To-night is the second reading of his Bill to throw the Peerage
open to Competitive Examination!
LORD TOLL. And he'll carry it, too!
LORD MOUNT. Carry it? Of course he will! He's a
Parliamentary Pickford--he carries everything!
LEILA. Yes. If you please, that's our fault!
LORD MOUNT. The deuce it is!
CELIA. Yes; we influence the members, and compel them to vote
just as he wishes them to.
LEILA. It's our system. It shortens the debates.
LORD TOLL. Well, but think what it all means. I don't so
much mind for myself, but with a House of Peers with no
grandfathers worth mentioning, the country must go to the dogs!
LEILA. I suppose it must!
LORD MOUNT. I don't want to say a word against brains--I've
a great respect for brains--I often wish I had some myself--but
with a House of Peers composed exclusively of people of intellect,
what's to become of the House of Commons?
LEILA. I never thought of that!
LORD MOUNT. This comes of women interfering in politics. It
so happens that if there is an institution in Great Britain which
is not susceptible of any improvement at all, it is the House of
When Britain really ruled the waves--
(In good Queen Bess's time)
The House of Peers made no pretence
To intellectual eminence,
Or scholarship sublime;
Yet Britain won her proudest bays
In good Queen Bess's glorious days!
CHORUS. Yes, Britain won, etc.
When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte,
As every child can tell,
The House of Peers, throughout the war,
Did nothing in particular,
And did it very well:
Yet Britain set the world ablaze
In good King George's glorious days!
CHORUS. Yes, Britain set, etc.
And while the House of Peers withholds
Its legislative hand,
And noble statesmen do not itch
To interfere with matters which
They do not understand,
As bright will shine Great Britain's rays
As in King George's glorious days!
CHORUS. As bright will shine, etc.
LEILA. (who has been much attracted by the Peers during this
song). Charming persons, are they not?
CELIA. Distinctly. For self-contained dignity, combined with
airy condescension, give me a British Representative Peer!
LORD TOLL. Then pray stop this protege of yours before it's
too late. Think of the mischief you're doing!
LEILA (crying). But we can't stop him now. (Aside to Celia.)
Aren't they lovely! (Aloud.) Oh, why did you go and defy us, you
great geese!
LEILA. In vain to us you plead--
Don't go!
Your prayers we do not heed--
Don't go!
It's true we sigh,
But don't suppose
A tearful eye
Forgiveness shows.
Oh, no!
We're very cross indeed--
Yes, very cross,
Don't go!
FAIRIES. It's true we sigh, etc.
CELIA. Your disrespectful sneers--
Don't go!
Call forth indignant tears--
Don't go!
You break our laws--
You are our foe:
We cry because
We hate you so!
You know!
You very wicked Peers!
You wicked Peers!
Don't go!
You break our laws-- Our disrespectful sneers,
You are our foe: Ha, ha!
We cry because Call forth indignant tears,
We hate you so! Ha, ha!
You know! If that's the case, my dears--
You very wicked Peers! FAIRIES. Don't go!
Don't go! PEERS. We'll go!
(Exeunt Lord Mountararat, Lord Tolloller, and Peers. Fairies gaze
wistfully after them.)
(Enter Fairy Queen.)
QUEEN. Oh, shame--shame upon you! Is this your fidelity to
the laws you are bound to obey? Know ye not that it is death to
marry a mortal?
LEILA. Yes, but it's not death to wish to marry a mortal!
FLETA. If it were, you'd have to execute us all!
QUEEN. Oh, this is weakness! Subdue it!
CELIA. We know it's weakness, but the weakness is so strong!
LEILA. We are not all as tough as you are!
QUEEN. Tough! Do you suppose that I am insensible to the
effect of manly beauty? Look at that man! (Referring to Sentry.)
A perfect picture! (To Sentry.) Who are you, sir?
WILLIS (coming to "attention"). Private Willis, B Company,
1st Grenadier Guards.
QUEEN. You're a very fine fellow, sir.
WILLIS. I am generally admired.
QUEEN. I can quite understand it. (To Fairies.) Now here is
a man whose physical attributes are simply godlike. That man has
a most extraordinary effect upon me. If I yielded to a natural
impulse, I should fall down and worship that man. But I mortify
this inclination; I wrestle with it, and it lies beneath my feet!
That is how I treat my regard for that man!
Oh, foolish fay,
Think you, because
His brave array
My bosom thaws,
I'd disobey
Our fairy laws?
Because I fly
In realms above,
In tendency
To fall in love,
Resemble I
The amorous dove?
(Aside.) Oh, amorous dove!
Type of Ovidius Naso!
This heart of mine
Is soft as thine,
Although I dare not say so!
CHORUS. Oh, amorous dove, etc.
On fire that glows
With heat intense
I turn the hose
Of common sense,
And out it goes
At small expense!
We must maintain
Our fairy law;
That is the main
On which to draw--
In that we gain
A Captain Shaw!
(Aside.) Oh, Captain Shaw!
Type of true love kept under!
Could thy Brigade
With cold cascade
Quench my great love, I wonder!
CHORUS. Oh, Captain Shaw! etc.
(Exeunt Fairies and Fairy Queen, sorrowfully.)
(Enter Phyllis.)
PHYL. (half crying). I can't think why I'm not in better
spirits. I'm engaged to two noblemen at once. That ought to be
enough to make any girl happy. But I'm miserable! Don't suppose
it's because I care for Strephon, for I hate him! No girl could
care for a man who goes about with a mother considerably younger
than himself!
(Enter Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller.)
LORD MOUNT. Phyllis! My darling!
LORD TOLL. Phyllis! My own!
PHYL. Don't! How dare you? Oh, but perhaps you're the two
noblemen I'm engaged to?
LORD MOUNT. I am one of them.
LORD TOLL. I am the other.
PHYL. Oh, then, my darling! (to Lord Mountararat). My own!
(to Lord Tolloller). Well, have you settled which it's to be?
LORD TOLL. Not altogether. It's a difficult position. It
would be hardly delicate to toss up. On the whole we would rather
leave it to you.
PHYL. How can it possibly concern me? You are both EarIs,
and you are both rich, and you are both plain.
LORD MOUNT. So we are. At least I am.
LORD TOLL. I am indeed. Very plain.
LORD MOUNT. Well, well--perhaps you are.
PHYL. There's really nothing to choose between you. If one
of you would forgo his title, and distribute his estates among his
Irish tenantry, why, then, I should then see a reason for accepting
the other.
LORD MOUNT. Tolloller, are you prepared to make this
LORD MOUNT. Not even to oblige a lady?
LORD TOLL. No! not even to oblige a lady.
LORD MOUNT. Then, the only question is, which of us shall
give way to the other? Perhaps, on the whole, she would be happier
with me. I don't know. I may be wrong.
LORD TOLL. No. I don't know that you are. I really believe
she would. But the awkward part of the thing is that if you rob me
of the girl of my heart, we must fight, and one of us must die.
It's a family tradition that I have sworn to respect. It's a
painful position, for I have a very strong regard for you, George.
LORD MOUNT. (much affected). My dear Thomas!
LORD TOLL. You are very dear to me, George. We were boys
together--at least I was. If I were to survive you, my existence
would be hopelessly embittered.
LORD MOUNT. Then, my dear Thomas, you must not do it. I say
it again and again--if it will have this effect upon you, you must
not do it. No, no. If one of us is to destroy the other, let it
be me!
LORD TOLL. No, no!
LORD MOUNT. Ah, yes!--by our boyish friendship I implore you!
LORD TOLL. (much moved). Well, well, be it so. But,
no--no!--I cannot consent to an act which would crush you with
unavaillng remorse.
LORD MOUNT. But it would not do so. I should be very sad at
first--oh, who would not be?--but it would wear off. I like you
very much--but not, perhaps, as much as you like me.
LORD TOLL. George, you're a noble fellow, but that tell-tale
tear betrays you. No, George; you are very fond of me, and I
cannot consent to give you a week's uneasiness on my account.
LORD MOUNT. But, dear Thomas, it would not last a week!
Remember, you lead the House of Lords! On your demise I shall take
your place! Oh, Thomas, it would not last a day!
PHYL. (coming down). Now, I do hope you're not going to fight
about me, because it's really not worth while.
LORD TOLL. (looking at her). Well, I don't believe it is!
LORD MOUNT. Nor I. The sacred ties of Friendship are
LORD TOLL. Though p'r'aps I may incur your blame,
The things are few
I would not do
In Friendship's name!
LORD MOUNT. And I may say I think the same;
Not even love
Should rank above
True Friendship's name!
PHYL. Then free me, pray; be mine the blame;
Forget your craze
And go your ways
In Friendship's name!
ALL. Oh, many a man, in Friendship's name,
Has yielded fortune, rank, and fame!
But no one yet, in the world so wide,
Has yielded up a promised bride!
WILLIS. Accept, O Friendship, all the same,
ALL. This sacrifice to thy dear name!
(Exeunt Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller, lovingly, in one
direction, and Phyllis in another. Exit Sentry.)
(Enter Lord Chancellor, very miserable.)
Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest:
Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers:
Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on my chest,
And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers!
When you're lying awake with a dismal headache, and repose is
taboo'd by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in,
without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire--the bedclothes conspire of usual
slumber to plunder you:
First your counterpane goes, and uncovers your toes, and your
sheet slips demurely from under you;
Then the blanketing tickles--you feel like mixed pickles--so
terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you're hot, and you're cross, and you tumble and toss till
there's nothing 'twixt you and the ticking.
Then the bedclothes all creep to the ground in a heap, and you
pick 'em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns and politely declines to remain at its
usual angle!
Well, you get some repose in the form of a doze, with hot
eye-balls and head ever aching.
But your slumbering teems with such horrible dreams that you'd
very much better be waking;
For you dream you are crossing the Channel, and tossing about in
a steamer from Harwich--
Which is something between a large bathing machine and a very
small second-class carriage--
And you're giving a treat (penny ice and cold meat) to a party of
friends and relations--
They're a ravenous horde--and they all came on board at Sloane
Square and South Kensington Stations.
And bound on that journey you find your attorney (who started that
morning from Devon);
He's a bit undersized, and you don't feel surprised when he tells
you he's only eleven.
Well, you're driving like mad with this singular lad (by the by,
the ship's now a four-wheeler),
And you're playing round games, and he calls you bad names when
you tell him that "ties pay the dealer";
But this you can't stand, so you throw up your hand, and you find
you're as cold as an icicle,
In your shirt and your socks (the black silk with gold clocks),
crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle:
And he and the crew are on bicycles too--which they've somehow or
other invested in--
And he's telling the tars all the particulars of a company he's
interested in--
It's a scheme of devices, to get at low prices all goods from
cough mixtures to cables
(Which tickled the sailors), by treating retailers as though they
were all vegetables--
You get a good spadesman to plant a small tradesman (first take
off his boots with a boot-tree),
And his legs will take root, and his fingers will shoot, and
they'll blossom and bud like a fruit-tree--
From the greengrocer tree you get grapes and green pea,
cauliflower, pineapple, and cranberries,
While the pastrycook plant cherry brandy will grant, apple puffs,
and three corners, and Banburys--
The shares are a penny, and ever so many are taken by Rothschild
and Baring,
And just as a few are allotted to you, you awake with a shudder
You're a regular wreck, with a crick in your neck, and no wonder
you snore, for your head's on the floor, and you've needles and
pins from your soles to your shins, and your flesh is a-creep, for
your left leg's asleep, and you've cramp in your toes, and a fly on
your nose, and some fluff in your lung, and a feverish tongue, and
a thirst that's intense, and a general sense that you haven't been
sleeping in clover;
But the darkness has passed, and it's daylight at last, and the
night has been long--ditto ditto my song--and thank goodness
they're both of them over!
(Lord Chancellor falls exhausted on
a seat.)
(Enter Lords Mountararat and Tolloller.)
LORD MOUNT. I am much distressed to see your Lordship in this
LORD CH. Ah, my Lords, it is seldom that a Lord Chancellor
has reason to envy the position of another, but I am free to
confess that I would rather be two Earls engaged to Phyllis than
any other half-dozen noblemen upon the face of the globe.
LORD TOLL. (without enthusiasm). Yes. It's an enviable
position when you're the only one.
LORD MOUNT. Oh yes, no doubt--most enviable. At the same
time, seeing you thus, we naturally say to ourselves, "This is very
sad. His Lordship is constitutionally as blithe as a bird--he
trills upon the bench like a thing of song and gladness. His
series of judgements in F sharp minor, given andante in six-eight
time, are among the most remarkable effects ever produced in a
Court of Chancery. He is, perhaps, the only living instance of a
judge whose decrees have received the honour of a double encore.
How can we bring ourselves to do that which will deprive the Court
of Chancery of one of its most attractive features?"
LORD CH. I feel the force of your remarks, but I am here in
two capacities, and they clash, my Lords, they clash! I deeply
grieve to say that in declining to entertain my last application to
myself, I presumed to address myself in terms which render it
impossible for me ever to apply to myself again. It was a most
painful scene, my Lords--most painful!
LORD TOLL. This is what it is to have two capacities! Let us
be thankful that we are persons of no capacity whatever.
LORD MOUNT. Come, come. Remember you are a very just and
kindly old gentleman, and you need have no hesitation in
approaching yourself, so that you do so respectfully and with a
proper show of deference.
LORD CH. Do you really think so?
LORD CH. Well, I will nerve myself to another effort, and,
if that fails, I resign myself to my fate!
LORD MOUNT. If you go in
You're sure to win--
Yours will be the charming maidie:
Be your law
The ancient saw,
"Faint heart never won fair lady!"
ALL. Never, never, never,
Faint heart never won fair lady!
Every journey has an end--
When at the worst affairs will mend--
Dark the dawn when day is nigh--
Hustle your horse and don't say die!
LORD TOLL. He who shies
At such a prize
Is not worth a maravedi,
Be so kind
To bear in mind--
Faint heart never won fair lady!
ALL. Never, never, never,
Faint heart never won fair lady!
While the sun shines make your hay--
Where a will is, there's a way--
Beard the lion in his lair--
None but the brave deserve the fair!
LORD CH. I'll take heart
And make a start--
Though I fear the prospect's shady--
Much I'd spend
To gain my end--
Faint heart never won fair lady!
ALL. Never, never, never,
Faint heart never won fair lady!
Nothing venture, nothing win--
Blood is thick, but water's thin--
In for a penny, in for a pound--
It's Love that makes the world go round!
(Dance, and exeunt arm-in-arm
(Enter Strephon, in very low spirits.)
[The following song was deleted from production]
Fold your flapping wings,
Soaring legislature.
Stoop to little things,
Stoop to human nature.
Never need to roam
members patriotic.
Let's begin at home,
Crime is no exotic.
Bitter is your bane
Terrible your trials
Dingy Drury Lane
Soapless Seven Dials.
Take a tipsy lout
Gathered from the gutter,
Hustle him about,
Strap him to a shutter.
What am I but he,
Washed at hours stated.
Fed on filagree,
Clothed and educated
He's a mark of scorn
I might be another
If I had been born
Of a tipsy mother.
Take a wretched thief,
Through the city sneaking.
Pocket handkerchief
Ever, ever seeking.
What is he but I
Robbed of all my chances
Picking pockets by
force of circumstances
I might be as bad,
As unlucky, rather,
If I'd only had,
Fagin for a father.
STREPH. I suppose one ought to enjoy oneself in Parliament,
when one leads both Parties, as I do! But I'm miserable, poor,
broken-hearted fool that I am! Oh Phyllis, Phyllis!--
(Enter Phyllis.)
PHYL. Yes.
STREPH. (surprised). Phyllis! But I suppose I should say "My
Lady." I have not yet been informed which title your ladyship has
pleased to select?
PHYL. I--I haven't quite decided. You see, I have no mother
to advise me!
STREPH. No. I have.
PHYL. Yes; a young mother.
STREPH. Not very--a couple of centuries or so.
PHYL. Oh! She wears well.
STREPH. She does. She's a fairy.
PHYL. I beg your pardon--a what?
STREPH. Oh, I've no longer any reason to conceal the
fact--she's a fairy.
PHYL. A fairy! Well, but--that would account for a good many
things! Then--I suppose you're a fairy?
STREPH. I'm half a fairy.
PHYL. Which half?
STREPH. The upper half--down to the waistcoat.
PHYL. Dear me! (Prodding him with her fingers.) There is
nothing to show it!
STREPH. Don't do that.
PHYL. But why didn't you tell me this before?
STREPH. I thought you would take a dislike to me. But as
it's all off, you may as well know the truth--I'm only half a
PHYL. (crying). But I'd rather have half a mortal I do love,
than half a dozen I don't!
STREPH. Oh, I think not--go to your half-dozen.
PHYL. (crying). It's only two! and I hate 'em! Please
forgive me!
STREPH. I don't think I ought to. Besides, all sorts of
difficulties will arise. You know, my grandmother looks quite as
young as my mother. So do all my aunts.
PHYL. I quite understand. Whenever I see you kissing a very
young lady, I shall know it's an elderly relative.
STREPH. You will? Then, Phyllis, I think we shall be very
happy! (Embracing her.)
PHYL. We won't wait long.
STREPH. No. We might change our minds. We'll get married
PHYL. And change our minds afterwards?
STREPH. That's the usual course.
STREPH. If we're weak enough to tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I,
Of the feeling I inspire
You may tire
By and by.
For peers with flowing coffers
Press their offers--
That is why
I am sure we should not tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I!
PHYL. If we're weak enough to tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I,
With a more attractive maiden,
You may fly.
If by chance we should be parted,
I should die--
So I think we will not tarry
Ere we marry,
You and I.
PHYL. But does your mother know you're--I mean, is she aware
of our engagement?
(Enter Iolanthe.)
IOL. She is; and thus she welcomes her daughter-in-law!
(Kisses her.)
PHYL. She kisses just like other people! But the Lord
STREPH. I forgot him! Mother, none can resist your fairy
eloquence; you will go to him and plead for us?
IOL. (much agitated). No, no; impossible!
STREPH. But our happiness--our very lives--depend upon our
obtaining his consent!
PHYL. Oh, madam, you cannot refuse to do this!
IOL. You know not what you ask! The Lord Chancellor is--my
STREPH. and PHYL. Your husband!
IOL. My husband and your father! (Addressing Strephon, who
is much moved.)
PHYLL. Then our course is plain; on his learning that
Strephon is his son, all objection to our marriage will be at once
IOL. No; he must never know! He believes me to have died
childless, and, dearly as I love him, I am bound, under penalty of
death, not to undeceive him. But see--he comes! Quick--my veil!
(Iolanthe veils herself. Strephon and Phyllis go off on tiptoe.)
(Enter Lord Chancellor.)
LORD CH. Victory! Victory! Success has crowned my efforts,
and I may consider myself engaged to Phyllis! At first I wouldn't
hear of it--it was out of the question. But I took heart. I
pointed out to myself that I was no stranger to myself; that, in
point of fact, I had been personally acquainted with myself for
some years. This had its effect. I admitted that I had watched my
professional advancement with considerable interest, and I
handsomely added that I yielded to no one in admiration for my
private and professional virtues. This was a great point gained.
I then endeavoured to work upon my feelings. Conceive my joy when
I distinctly perceived a tear glistening in my own eye!
Eventually, after a severe struggle with myself, I
reluctantly--most reluctantly--consented.
(Iolanthe comes down
My lord, a suppliant at your feet I kneel,
Oh, listen to a mother's fond appeal!
Hear me to-night! I come in urgent need--
'Tis for my son, young Strephon, that I plead!
He loves! If in the bygone years
Thine eyes have ever shed
Tears--bitter, unavailing tears,
For one untimely dead--
If, in the eventide of life,
Sad thoughts of her arise,
Then let the memory of thy wife
Plead for my boy--he dies!
He dies! If fondly laid aside
In some old cabinet,
Memorials of thy long-dead bride
Lie, dearly treasured yet,
Then let her hallowed bridal dress--
Her little dainty gloves--
Her withered flowers--her faded tress--
Plead for my boy--he loves!
(The Lord Chancellor is moved by this appeal. After a pause.)
LORD CH. It may not be--for so the fates decide!
Learn thou that Phyllis is my promised bride.
IOL. (in horror). Thy bride! No! no!
LORD CH. It shall be so!
Those who would separate us woe betide!
IOL. My doom thy lips have spoken--
I plead in vain!
CHORUS OF FAIRIES (without). Forbear! forbear!
IOL. A vow already broken
I break again!
CHORUS OF FAIRIES (without). Forbear! forbear!
IOL. For him--for her--for thee
I yield my life.
Behold--it may not be!
I am thy wife.
CHORUS OF FAIRIES (without). Aiaiah! Aiaiah! Willaloo!
LORD CH. (recognizing her). Iolanthe! thou livest?
IOL. Aye!
I live! Now let me die!
(Enter Fairy Queen and Fairies. Iolanthe kneels to her.)
QUEEN. Once again thy vows are broken:
Thou thyself thy doom hast spoken!
CHORUS OF FAIRIES. Aiaiah! Aiaiah!
Willahalah! Willaloo!
Willahalah! Willaloo!
QUEEN. Bow thy head to Destiny:
Death thy doom, and thou shalt die!
CHORUS OF FAIRIES. Aiaiah! Aiaiah! etc.
(Peers and Sentry enter. The Queen raises her spear.)
LEILA. Hold! If Iolanthe must die, so must we all; for, as
she has sinned, so have we!
QUEEN. What?
CELIA. We are all fairy duchesses, marchionesses, countesses,
viscountesses, and baronesses.
LORD MOUNT. It's our fault. They couldn't help themselves.
QUEEN. It seems they have helped themselves, and pretty
freely, too! (After a pause.) You have all incurred death; but I
can't slaughter the whole company! And yet (unfolding a scroll)
the law is clear--every fairy must die who marries a mortal!
LORD CH. Allow me, as an old Equity draftsman, to make a
suggestion. The subtleties of the legal mind are equal to the
emergency. The thing is really quite simple--the insertion of a
single word will do it. Let it stand that every fairy shall die
who doesn't marry a mortal, and there you are, out of your
difficulty at once!
QUEEN. We like your humour. Very well! (Altering the MS. in
pencil.) Private Willis!
SENTRY (coming forward). Ma'am!
QUEEN. To save my life, it is necessary that I marry at once.
How should you like to be a fairy guardsman?
SENTRY. Well, ma'am, I don't think much of the British
soldier who wouldn't ill-convenience himself to save a female in
QUEEN. You are a brave fellow. You're a fairy from this
moment. (Wings spring from Sentry's shoulders.) And you, my
Lords, how say you, will you join our ranks?
(Fairies kneel to Peers and implore them to
do so.)
(Phyllis and Strephon enter.)
LORD MOUNT. (to Lord Tolloller). Well, now that the Peers are
to be recruited entirely from persons of intelligence, I really
don't see what use we are, down here, do you, Tolloller?
LORD TOLL. None whatever.
QUEEN. Good! (Wings spring from shoulders of Peers.) Then
away we go to Fairyland.
PHYL. Soon as we may,
Off and away!
We'll commence our journey airy--
Happy are we--
As you can see,
Every one is now a fairy!
ALL. Every, every, every,
Every one is now a fairy!
IOL., QUEEN, Though as a general rule we know
and PHYL. Two strings go to every bow,
Make up your minds that grief 'twill bring
If you've two beaux to every string.
ALL. Though as a general rule, etc.
LORDCH. Up in the sky,
Ever so high,
Pleasures come in endless series;
We will arrange
Happy exchange--
House of Peers for House of Peris!
ALL. Peris, Peris, Peris,
House of Peers for House of Peris!
LORDS CH., Up in the air, sky-high, sky-high,
MOUNT., Free from Wards in Chancery,
and TOLL. I/He will be surely happier, for
I'm/He's such a susceptible Chancellor.
ALL. Up in the air, etc.
By William S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
NANKI-POO (his Son, disguised as a wandering minstrel, and in
love with Yum-Yum).
KO-KO (Lord High Executioner of Titipu).
POOH-BAH (Lord High Everything Else).
PISH-TISH (a Noble Lord).
Three Sisters--Wards of Ko-Ko:
KATISHA (an elderly Lady, in love with Nanki-Poo).
Chorus of School-girls, Nobles, Guards, and Coolies.
ACT I.--Courtyard of Ko-Ko's Official Residence.
ACT II.-- Ko-Ko's Garden
First produced at the Savoy Theatre on March 14, 1885.
SCENE.--Courtyard of Ko-Ko's Palace in Titipu. Japanese nobles
discovered standing and sitting in attitudes suggested by
native drawings.
If you want to know who we are,
We are gentlemen of Japan:
On many a vase and jar--
On many a screen and fan,
We figure in lively paint:
Our attitude's queer and quaint--
You're wrong if you think it ain't, oh!
If you think we are worked by strings,
Like a Japanese marionette,
You don't understand these things:
It is simply Court etiquette.
Perhaps you suppose this throng
Can't keep it up all day long?
If that's your idea, you're wrong, oh!
Enter Nanki-Poo in great excitement. He carries a native guitar
on his back and a bundle of ballads in his hand.
Gentlemen, I pray you tell me
Where a gentle maiden dwelleth,
Named Yum-Yum, the ward of Ko-Ko?
In pity speak, oh speak I pray you!
A NOBLE. Why, who are you who ask this question?
NANK. Come gather round me, and I'll tell you.
A wandering minstrel I--
A thing of shreds and patches,
Of ballads, songs and snatches,
And dreamy lullaby!
My catalogue is long,
Through every passion ranging,
And to your humours changing
I tune my supple song!
Are you in sentimental mood?
I'll sigh with you,
Oh, sorrow, sorrow!
On maiden's coldness do you brood?
I'll do so, too--
Oh, sorrow, sorrow!
I'll charm your willing ears
With songs of lovers' fears,
While sympathetic tears
My cheeks bedew--
Oh, sorrow, sorrow!
But if patriotic sentiment is wanted,
I've patriotic ballads cut and dried;
For where'er our country's banner may be planted,
All other local banners are defied!
Our warriors, in serried ranks assembled,
Never quail--or they conceal it if they do--
And I shouldn't be surprised if nations trembled
Before the mighty troops of Titipu!
CHORUS. We shouldn't be surprised, etc.
NANK. And if you call for a song of the sea,
We'll heave the capstan round,
With a yeo heave ho, for the wind is free,
Her anchor's a-trip and her helm's a-lee,
Hurrah for the homeward bound!
CHORUS. Yeo-ho--heave ho--
Hurrah for the homeward bound!
To lay aloft in a howling breeze
May tickle a landsman's taste,
But the happiest hour a sailor sees
Is when he's down
At an inland town,
With his Nancy on his knees, yeo ho!
And his arm around her waist!
CHORUS. Then man the capstan--off we go,
As the fiddler swings us round,
With a yeo heave ho,
And a rum below,
Hurrah for the homeward bound!
A wandering minstrel I, etc.
Enter Pish-Tush.
PISH. And what may be your business with Yum-Yum?
NANK. I'll tell you. A year ago I was a member of the
Titipu town band. It was my duty to take the cap round for
contributions. While discharging this delicate office, I saw
Yum-Yum. We loved each other at once, but she was betrothed to
her guardian Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, and I saw that my suit was
hopeless. Overwhelmed with despair, I quitted the town. Judge
of my delight when I heard, a month ago, that Ko-Ko had been condemned
to death for flirting! I hurried back at once, in the
hope of finding Yum-Yum at liberty to listen to my protestations.
PISH. It is true that Ko-Ko was condemned to death for
flirting, but he was reprieved at the last moment, and raised to
the exalted rank of Lord High Executioner under the following
remarkable circumstances:
Our great Mikado, virtuous man,
When he to rule our land began,
Resolved to try
A plan whereby
Young men might best be steadied.
So he decreed, in words succinct,
That all who flirted, leered or winked
(Unless connubially linked),
Should forthwith be beheaded.
And I expect you'll all agree
That he was right to so decree.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right as right can be!
CHORUS. And you are right.
And we are right, etc
This stem decree, you'll understand,
Caused great dismay throughout the land!
For young and old
And shy and bold
Were equally affected.
The youth who winked a roving eye,
Or breathed a non-connubial sigh,
Was thereupon condemned to die--
He usually objected.
And you'll allow, as I expect,
That he was right to so object.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And everything is quite correct!
CHORUS. And you are right,
And we are right, etc.
And so we straight let out on bail
A convict from the county jail,
Whose head was next
On some pretext
Condemned to be mown off,
And made him Headsman, for we said,
"Who's next to be decapited
Cannot cut off another's head
Until he's cut his own off."
And we are right, I think you'll say,
To argue in this kind of way;
And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right--too-looral-lay!
CHORUS. And you are right,
And we are right, etc.
Enter Pooh-Bah.
NANK. Ko-Ko, the cheap tailor, Lord High Executioner of
Titipu! Why, that's the highest rank a citizen can attain!
POOH. It is. Our logical Mikado, seeing no moral
difference between the dignified judge who condemns a criminal to
die, and the industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence,
has rolled the two offices into one, and every judge is now his
own executioner.
NANK. But how good of you (for I see that you are a
nobleman of the highest rank) to condescend to tell all this to
me, a mere strolling minstrel!
POOH. Don't mention it. I am, in point of fact, a
particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite
ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that
I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic
globule. Consequently, my family pride is something
inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering. But I
struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride
continually. When all the great officers of State resigned in a
body because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did
I not unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once?
PISH. And the salaries attached to them? You did.
POOH. It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this
upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice,
Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds,
Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor,
both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a salary! A
Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I do
it! It revolts me, but I do it!
NANK. And it does you credit.
POOH. But I don't stop at that. I go and dine with
middle-class people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap
suburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any
hands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low
figure. For instance, any further information about Yum-Yum
would come under the head of a State secret. (Nanki-Poo takes his
hint, and gives him money.) (Aside.) Another insult and, I
think, a light one!
Young man, despair,
Likewise go to,
Yum-Yum the fair
You must not woo.
It will not do:
I'm sorry for you,
You very imperfect ablutioner!
This very day
From school Yum-Yum
Will wend her way,
And homeward come,
With beat of drum
And a rum-tum-tum,
To wed the Lord High executioner!
And the brass will crash,
And the trumpets bray,
And they'll cut a dash
On their wedding day.
She'll toddle away, as all aver,
With the Lord High Executioner '
NANK. and POOH. And the brass will crash, etc.
It's a hopeless case,
As you may see,
And in your place
Away I'd flee;
But don't blame me--
I'm sorry to be
Of your pleasure a diminutioner.
They'll vow their pact
Extremely soon,
In point of fact
This afternoon.
Her honeymoon
With that buffoon
At seven commences, so you shun her!
ALL. And the brass will crash, etc.
NANK. And I have journeyed for a month, or nearly,
To learn that Yum-Yum, whom I love so dearly,
This day to Ko-Ko is to be united!
POOH. The fact appears to be as you've recited:
But here he comes, equipped as suits his station;
He'll give you any further information.
[Exeunt Pooh-Bah and
Enter Chorus of Nobles.
Behold the Lord High Executioner
A personage of noble rank and title--
A dignified and potent officer,
Whose functions are particularly vital!
Defer, defer,
To the Lord High Executioner!
Enter Ko-Ko attended.
Taken from the county jail
By a set of curious chances;
Liberated then on bail,
On my own recognizances;
Wafted by a favouring gale
As one sometimes is in trances,
To a height that few can scale,
Save by long and weary dances;
Surely, never had a male
Under such like circumstances
So adventurous a tale,
Which may rank with most romances.
CHORUS. Defer, defer,
To the Lord High Executioner, etc.
KO. Gentlemen, I'm much touched by this reception. I can
only trust that by strict attention to duty I shall ensure a
continuance of those favours which it will ever be my study to
deserve. If I should ever be called upon to act professionally,
I am happy to think that there will be no difficulty in finding
plenty of people whose loss will be a distinct gain to society at
As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list--I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed--who never would be missed!
There's the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs--
All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs--
All children who are up in dates, and floor you with 'em flat--
All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like
And all third persons who on spoiling tte--ttes insist--
They'd none of 'em be missed--they'd none of 'em be missed!
CHORUS. He's got 'em on the list--he's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed--they'll none of
'em be missed.
There's the banjo serenader, and the others of his race,
And the piano-organist--I've got him on the list!
And the people who eat peppermint and puff it in your face,
They never would be missed--they never would be missed!
Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
All centuries but this, and every country but his own;
And the lady from the provinces, who dresses like a guy,
And who "doesn't think she waltzes, but would rather like to
And that singular anomaly, the lady novelist--
I don't think she'd be missed--I'm sure she'd not he missed!
CHORUS. He's got her on the list--he's got her on the list;
And I don't think she'll be missed--I'm sure
she'll not be missed!
And that Nisi Prius nuisance, who just now is rather rife,
The Judicial humorist--I've got him on the list!
All funny fellows, comic men, and clowns of private life--
They'd none of 'em be missed--they'd none of 'em be missed.
And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
Such as--What d'ye call him--Thing'em-bob, and
And 'St--'st--'st--and What's-his-name, and also You-know-who--
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed--they'd none of 'em be
CHORUS. You may put 'em on the list--you may put 'em on the
And they'll none of 'em be missed--they'll none of
'em be missed!
Enter Pooh-Bah.
KO. Pooh-Bah, it seems that the festivities in connection
with my approaching marriage must last a week. I should like to
do it handsomely, and I want to consult you as to the amount I
ought to spend upon them.
POOH. Certainly. In which of my capacities? As First Lord
of the Treasury, Lord Chamberlain, Attorney General, Chancellor
of the Exchequer, Privy Purse, or Private Secretary?
KO. Suppose we say as Private Secretary.
POOH. Speaking as your Private Secretary, I should say
that, as the city will have to pay for it, don't stint yourself,
do it well.
KO. Exactly--as the city will have to pay for it. That is
your advice.
POOH. As Private Secretary. Of course you will understand
that, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am bound to see that due
economy is observed.
KO. Oh! But you said just now "Don't stint yourself, do it
POOH. As Private Secretary.
KO. And now you say that due economy must be observed.
POOH. As Chancellor of the Exchequer.
KO. I see. Come over here, where the Chancellor can't hear
us. (They cross the stage.) Now, as my Solicitor, how do you
advise me to deal with this difficulty?
POOH. Oh, as your Solicitor, I should have no hesitation in
saying "Chance it----"
KO. Thank you. (Shaking his hand.) I will.
POOH. If it were not that, as Lord Chief Justice, I am
bound to see that the law isn't violated.
KO. I see. Come over here where the Chief Justice can't
hear us. (They cross the stage.) Now, then, as First Lord of
the Treasury?
POOH. Of course, as First Lord of the Treasury, I could
propose a special vote that would cover all expenses, if it were
not that, as Leader of the Opposition, it would be my duty to
resist it, tooth and nail. Or, as Paymaster General, I could so
cook the accounts that, as Lord High Auditor, I should never
discover the fraud. But then, as Archbishop of Titipu, it would
be my duty to denounce my dishonesty and give myself into my own
custody as first Commissioner of Police.
KO. That's extremely awkward.
POOH. I don't say that all these distinguished people
couldn't be squared; but it is right to tell you that they
wouldn't be sufficiently degraded in their own estimation unless
they were insulted with a very considerable bribe.
KO. The matter shall have my careful consideration. But my
bride and her sisters approach, and any little compliment on your
part, such as an abject grovel in a characteristic Japanese
attitude, would be esteemed a favour.
POOH. No money, no grovel!
Enter procession of Yum-Yum's schoolfellows, heralding Yum-Yum,
Peep-Bo, and Pitti-Sing.
Comes a train of little ladies
From scholastic trammels free,
Each a little bit afraid is,
Wondering what the world can be!
Is it but a world of trouble--
Sadness set to song?
Is its beauty but a bubble
Bound to break ere long?
Are its palaces and pleasures
Fantasies that fade?
And the glory of its treasures
Shadow of a shade?
Schoolgirls we, eighteen and under,
From scholastic trammels free,
And we wonder--how we wonder!--
What on earth the world can be!
THE THREE. Three little maids from school are we,
Pert as a school-girl well can be,
Filled to the brim with girlish glee,
Three little maids from school!
YUM-YUM. Everything is a source of fun. (Chuckle.)
PEEP-BO. Nobody's safe, for we care for none! (Chuckle.)
PITTI-SING. Life is a joke that's just begun! (Chuckle.)
THE THREE. Three little maids from school!
ALL (dancing). Three little maids who, all unwary,
Come from a ladies' seminary,
Freed from its genius tutelary--
THE THREE (suddenly demure). Three little maids from school!
YUM-YUM. One little maid is a bride, Yum-Yum--
PEEP-BO. Two little maids in attendance come--
PITTI-SING. Three little maids is the total sum.
THE THREE. Three little maids from school!
YUM-YUM. From three little maids take one away.
PEEP-BO. Two little maids remain, and they--
PITTI-SING. Won't have to wait very long, they say--
THE THREE. Three little maids from school!
ALL (dancing). Three little maids who, all unwary,
Come from a ladies' seminary,
Freed from its genius tutelary--
THE THREE (suddenly demure). Three little maids from school!
Enter Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah.
KO. At last, my bride that is to be! (About to embrace
YUM. You're not going to kiss me before all these people?
KO. Well, that was the idea.
YUM (aside to Peep-Bo). It seems odd, doesn't it?
PEEP. It's rather peculiar.
PITTI. Oh, I expect it's all right. Must have a beginning,
you know.
YUM. Well, of course I know nothing about these things; but
I've no objection if it's usual.
KO. Oh, it's quite usual, I think. Eh, Lord Chamberlain?
(Appealing to Pooh-Bah.)
POOH. I have known it done. (Ko-Ko embraces her.)
YUM. Thank goodness that's over! (Sees Nanki-Poo, and
rushes to him.) Why, that's never you? (The three Girls rush to
him and shake his hands, all speaking at once.)
YUM. Oh, I'm so glad! I haven't seen you for ever so long,
and I'm right at the top of the school, and I've got three
prizes, and I've come home for good, and I'm not going back any
PEEP. And have you got an engagement?--Yum-Yum's got one,
but she doesn't like it, and she'd ever so much rather it was
you! I've come home for good, and I'm not going back any more!
PITTI. Now tell us all the news, because you go about
everywhere, and we've been at school, but, thank goodness, that's
all over now, and we've come home for good, and we're not going
back any more!
(These three speeches are spoken together in one breath.)
KO. I beg your pardon. Will you present me?
YUM. Oh, this is the musician who used--
PEEP. Oh, this is the gentleman-who used--
PITTI. Oh, it is only Nanki-Poo who used--
KO. One at a time, if you please.
YUM. Oh, if you please he's the gentleman who used to play
so beautifully on the--on the--
PITTI. On the Marine Parade.
YUM. Yes, I think that was the name of the instrument.
NANK. Sir, I have the misfortune to love your ward,
Yum-Yum--oh, I know I deserve your anger!
KO. Anger! not a bit, my boy. Why, I love her myself.
Charming little girl, isn't she? Pretty eyes, nice hair. Taking
little thing, altogether. Very glad to hear my opinion backed by
a competent authority. Thank you very much. Good-bye. (To
Pish-Tush.) Take him away. (Pish-Tush removes him.)
PITTI (who has been examining Pooh-Bah). I beg your pardon,
but what is this? Customer come to try on?
KO. That is a Tremendous Swell.
PITTI. Oh, it's alive. (She starts back in alarm.)
POOH. Go away, little girls. Can't talk to little girls
like you. Go away, there's dears.
KO. Allow me to present you, Pooh-Bah. These are my three
wards. The one in the middle is my bride elect.
POOH. What do you want me to do to them? Mind, I will not
kiss them.
KO. No, no, you shan't kiss them; a little bow--a mere
nothing--you needn't mean it, you know.
POOH. It goes against the grain. They are not young
ladies, they are young persons.
KO. Come, come, make an effort, there's a good nobleman.
POOH. (aside to Ko-Ko). Well, I shan't mean it. (with a
great effort.) How de do, little girls, how de do? (Aside.)
Oh, my protoplasmal ancestor!
KO. That's very good. (Girls indulge in suppressed
POOH. I see nothing to laugh at. It is very painful to me
to have to say "How de do, little girls, how de do?" to young
persons. I'm not in the habit of saying "How de do, little
girls, how de do?" to anybody under the rank of a Stockbroker.
KO. (aside to girls). Don't laugh at him, he can't help
it--he's under treatment for it. (Aside to Pooh-Bah.) Never mind
them, they don't understand the delicacy of your position.
POOH. We know how delicate it is, don't we?
KO. I should think we did! How a nobleman of your
importance can do it at all is a thing I never can, never shall
[Ko-Ko retires and
goes off.
YUM, PEEP. So please you, Sir, we much regret
and PITTI. If we have failed in etiquette
Towards a man of rank so high--
We shall know better by and by.
YUM. But youth, of course, must have its fling,
So pardon us,
So pardon us,
PITTI. And don't, in girlhood's happy spring,
Be hard on us,
Be hard on us,
If we're inclined to dance and sing.
Tra la la, etc. (Dancing.)
CHORUS OF GIRLS. But youth, of course, etc.
POOH. I think you ought to recollect
You cannot show too much respect
Towards the highly titled few;
But nobody does, and why should you?
That youth at us should have its fling,
Is hard on us,
Is hard on us;
To our prerogative we cling--
So pardon us,
So pardon us,
If we decline to dance and sing.
Tra la la, etc. (Dancing.)
CHORUS OF GIRLS.. But youth, of course, must have its fling, etc.
[Exeunt all but
Enter Nanki-Poo.
NANK. Yum-Yum, at last we are alone! I have sought you
night and day for three weeks, in the belief that your guardian
was beheaded, and I find that you are about to be married to him
this afternoon!
YUM. Alas, yes!
NANK. But you do not love him?
YUM. Alas, no!
NANK. Modified rapture! But why do you not refuse him?
YUM. What good would that do? He's my guardian, and he
wouldn't let me marry you!
NANK. But I would wait until you were of age!
YUM. You forget that in Japan girls do not arrive at years
of discretion until they are fifty.
NANK. True; from seventeen to forty-nine are considered
years of indiscretion.
YUM. Besides--a wandering minstrel, who plays a wind
instrument outside tea-houses, is hardly a fitting husband for
the ward of a Lord High Executioner.
NANK. But---- (Aside.) Shall I tell her? Yes! She will
not betray me! (Aloud.) What if it should prove that, after
all, I am no musician?
YUM. There! I was certain of it, directly I heard you
NANK. What if it should prove that I am no other than the
son of his Majesty the Mikado?
YUM. The son of the Mikado! But why is your Highness
disguised? And what has your Highness done? And will your
Highness promise never to do it again?
NANK. Some years ago I had the misfortune to captivate
Katisha, an elderly lady of my father's Court. She misconstrued
my customary affability into expressions of affection, and
claimed me in marriage, under my father's law. My father, the
Lucius Junius Brutus of his race, ordered me to marry her within
a week, or perish ignominiously on the scaffold. That night I
fled his Court, and, assuming the disguise of a Second Trombone,
I joined the band in which you found me when I had the happiness
of seeing you! (Approaching her.)
YUM. (retreating). If you please, I think your Highness
had better not come too near. The laws against flirting are
excessively severe.
NANK. But we are quite alone, and nobody can see us.
YUM. Still, that don't make it right. To flirt is capital.
NANK. It is capital!
YUM. And we must obey the law.
NANK. Deuce take the law!
YUM. I wish it would, but it won't!
NANK. If it were not for that, how happy we might be!
YUM. Happy indeed!
NANK. If it were not for the law, we should now be sitting
side by side, like that. (Sits by her.)
YUM. Instead of being obliged to sit half a mile off, like
that. (Crosses and sits at other side of stage.)
NANK. We should be gazing into each other's eyes, like
that. (Gazing at her sentimentally.)
YUM. Breathing sighs of unutterable love--like that.
(Sighing and gazing lovingly at him.)
NANK. With our arms round each other's waists, like that.
(Embracing her.)
YUM. Yes, if it wasn't for the law.
NANK. If it wasn't for the law.
YUM. As it is, of course we couldn't do anything of the
NANK. Not for worlds!
YUM. Being engaged to Ko-Ko, you know!
NANK. Being engaged to Ko-Ko!
NANK. Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted,
I would say in tender tone,
"Loved one, let us be united--
Let us be each other's own!"
I would merge all rank and station,
Worldly sneers are nought to us,
And, to mark my admiration,
I would kiss you fondly thus-- (Kisses her.)
BOTH. I/He would kiss you/me fondly thus-- (Kiss.)
YUM. But as I'm engaged to Ko-Ko,
To embrace you thus, con fuoco,
Would distinctly be no giuoco,
And for yam I should get toko--
BOTH. Toko, toko, toko, toko!
NANK. So, In spite of all temptation,
Such a theme I'll not discuss,
And on no consideration
Will I kiss you fondly thus-- (Kissing her.)
Let me make it clear to you,
This is what I'll never do!
This, oh, this, oh, this, oh, this,--(Kissing
TOGETHER. This, oh, this, etc.
[Exeunt in opposite
Enter Ko-Ko.
KO. (looking after Yum-Yum). There she goes! To think how
entirely my future happiness is wrapped up in that little parcel!
Really, it hardly seems worth while! Oh, matrimony!-- (Enter
Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush.) Now then, what is it? Can't you see I'm
soliloquizing? You have interrupted an apostrophe, sir!
PISH. I am the bearer of a letter from his Majesty the
KO. (taking it from him reverentially). A letter from the
Mikado! What in the world can he have to say to me? (Reads
letter.) Ah, here it is at last! I thought it would come sooner
or later! The Mikado is struck by the fact that no executions
have taken place in Titipu for a year, and decrees that unless
somebody is beheaded within one month the post of Lord High
Executioner shall be abolished, and the city reduced to the rank
of a village!
PISH. But that will involve us all in irretrievable ruin!
KO. Yes. There is no help for it, I shall have to execute
somebody at once. The only question is, who shall it be?
POOH. Well, it seems unkind to say so, but as you're
already under sentence of death for flirting, everything seems to
point to you.
KO. To me? What are you talking about? I can't execute
POOH. Why not?
KO. Why not? Because, in the first place, self
decapitation is an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous,
thing to attempt; and, in the second, it's suicide, and suicide
is a capital offence.
POOH. That is so, no doubt.
PISH. We might reserve that point.
POOH. True, it could be argued six months hence, before the
full Court.
KO. Besides, I don't see how a man can cut off his own
POOH. A man might try.
PISH. Even if you only succeeded in cutting it half off,
that would be something.
POOH. It would be taken as an earnest of your desire to
comply with the Imperial will.
KO. No. Pardon me, but there I am adamant. As official
Headsman, my reputation is at stake, and I can't consent to
embark on a professional operation unless I see my way to a
successful result.
POOH. This professional conscientiousness is highly
creditable to you, but it places us in a very awkward position.
KO. My good sir, the awkwardness of your position is grace
itself compared with that of a man engaged in the act of cutting
off his own head.
PISH. I am afraid that, unless you can obtain a substitute
KO. A substitute? Oh, certainly--nothing easier. (To
Pooh-Bah.) Pooh-Bah, I appoint you Lord High Substitute.
POOH. I should be delighted. Such an appointment would
realize my fondest dreams. But no, at any sacrifice, I must set
bounds to my insatiable ambition!
Ko-Ko Pooh-Bah Pish-Tush
My brain it teams I am so proud, I heard one
With endless schemes If I allowed A gentleman
Both good and new My family pride That criminals
For Titipu; To be my guide, Are cut in two
But if I flit, I'd volunteer Can hardly
The benefit To quit this sphere The fatal
That I'd diffuse Instead of you And so are
The town would lose! In a minute or two, Without much
Now every man But family pride If this is
To aid his clan Must be denied, It's jolly for
Should plot and plan And set aside, Your courage
As best he can, And mortified. To bid us
And so, And so, And go
Although Although And show
I'm ready to go, I wish to go, Both friend
and foe
Yet recollect And greatly pine How much you
'Twere disrespect To brightly shine, I'm quite
Did I neglect And take the line It's your
To thus effect Of a hero fine, Yet I declare
This aim direct, With grief condign I'd take your
So I object-- I must decline-- But I don't
much care--
So I object-- I must decline-- I don't much
So I object-- I must decline-- I don't much
ALL. To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
[Exeunt Pooh.
and Pish.
KO. This is simply appalling! I, who allowed myself to be
respited at the last moment, simply in order to benefit my native
town, am now required to die within a month, and that by a man
whom I have loaded with honours! Is this public gratitude? Is
this--- (Enter Nanki-Poo, with a rope in his hands.) Go away,
sir! How dare you? Am I never to be permitted to soliloquize?
NANK. Oh, go on--don't mind me.
KO. What are you going to do with that rope?
NANK. I am about to terminate an unendurabIe existence.
KO. Terminate your existence? Oh, nonsense! What for?
NANK. Because you are going to marry the girl I adore.
KO. Nonsense, sir. I won't permit it. I am a humane man,
and if you attempt anything of the kind I shall order your
instant arrest. Come, sir, desist at once or I summon my guard.
NANK. That's absurd. If you attempt to raise an alarm, I
instantly perform the Happy Despatch with this dagger.
KO. No, no, don't do that. This is horrible! (Suddenly.)
Why, you cold-blooded scoundrel, are you aware that, in taking
your life, you are committing a crime which--which--which is----
Oh! (Struck by an idea.) Substitute!
NANK. What's the matter?
KO. Is it absolutely certain that you are resolved to die?
NANK. Absolutely!
KO. Will nothing shake your resolution?
NANK. Nothing.
KO. Threats, entreaties, prayers--all useless?
NANK. All! My mind is made up.
KO. Then, if you really mean what you say, and if you are
absolutely resolved to die, and if nothing whatever will shake
your determination--don't spoil yourself by committing suicide,
but be beheaded handsomely at the hands of the Public
NANK. I don't see how that would benefit me.
KO. You don't? Observe: you'll have a month to live, and
you'll live like a fighting-cock at my expense. When the day
comes there'll be a grand public ceremonial--you'll be the
central figure--no one will attempt to deprive you of that
distinction. There'll be a procession--bands--dead march--bells
tolling--all the girls in tears--Yum-Yum distracted--then, when
it's all over, general rejoicings, and a display of fireworks in
the evening. You won't see them, but they'll be there all the
NANK. Do you think Yum-Yum would really be distracted at my
KO. I am convinced of it. Bless you, she's the most
tender-hearted little creature alive.
NANK. I should be sorry to cause her pain. Perhaps, after
all, if I were to withdraw from Japan, and travel in Europe for a
couple of years, I might contrive to forget her.
KO. Oh, I don't think you could forget Yum-Yum so easily;
and, after all, what is more miserable than a love-blighted life?
NANK. True.
KO. Life without Yum-Yum--why, it seems absurd!
NANK. And yet there are a good many people in the world who
have to endure it.
KO. Poor devils, yes! You are quite right not to be of
their number.
NANK. (suddenly). I won't be of their number!
KO. Noble fellow!
NANK. I'll tell you how we'll manage it. Let me marry
Yum-Yum to-morrow, and in a month you may behead me.
KO. No, no. I draw the line at Yum-Yum.
NANK. Very good. If you can draw the line, so can I.
(Preparing rope.)
KO. Stop, stop--listen one moment--be reasonable. How can
I consent to your marrying Yum-Yum if I'm going to marry her
NANK. My good friend, she'll be a widow in a month, and you
can marry her then.
KO. That's true, of course. I quite see that. But, dear
me! my position during the next month will be most
unpleasant--most unpleasant.
NANK. Not half so unpleasant as my position at the end of
KO. But--dear me!--well--I agree--after all, it's only
putting off my wedding for a month. But you won't prejudice her
against me, will you? You see, I've educated her to be my wife;
she's been taught to regard me as a wise and good man. Now I
shouldn't like her views on that point disturbed.
NANK. Trust me, she shall never learn the truth from me.
Enter Chorus, Pooh-Bah, and Pish-Tush.
With aspect stern
And gloomy stride,
We come to learn
How you decide.
Don't hesitate
Your choice to name,
A dreadful fate
You'll suffer all the same.
POOH. To ask you what you mean to do we punctually appear.
KO. Congratulate me, gentlemen, I've found a Volunteer!
ALL. The Japanese equivalent for Hear, Hear, Hear!
KO. (presenting him). 'Tis Nanki-Poo!
ALL. Hail, Nanki-Poo!
KO. I think he'll do?
ALL. Yes, yes, he'll do!
KO. He yields his life if I'll Yum-Yum surrender.
Now I adore that girl with passion tender,
And could not yield her with a ready will,
Or her allot,
If I did not
Adore myself with passion tenderer still!
Enter Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo, and Pitti-Sing.
ALL. Ah, yes!
He loves himself with passion tenderer still!
KO. (to Nanki-Poo). Take her--she's yours!
[Exit Ko-Ko
NANKI-POO. The threatened cloud has passed away,
YUM-YUM. And brightly shines the dawning day;
NANKI-POO. What though the night may come too soon,
YUM-YUM. There's yet a month of afternoon!
and PEEP-BO.
Then let the throng
Our joy advance,
With laughing song
And merry dance,
CHORUS. With joyous shout and ringing cheer,
Inaugurate our brief career!
PITTI-SING. A day, a week, a month, a year--
YUM. Or far or near, or far or near,
POOH. Life's eventime comes much too soon,
PITTI-SING. You'll live at least a honeymoon!
ALL. Then let the throng, etc.
CHORUS. With joyous shout, etc.
As in a month you've got to die,
If Ko-Ko tells us true,
'Twere empty compliment to cry
"Long life to Nanki-Poo!"
But as one month you have to live
As fellow-citizen,
This toast with three times three we'll give--
"Long life to you--till then!"
CHORUS. May all good fortune prosper you,
May you have health and riches too,
May you succeed in all you do!
Long life to you--till then!
Enter Katisha melodramatically
KAT. Your revels cease! Assist me, all of you!
CHORUS. Why, who is this whose evil eyes
Rain blight on our festivities?
KAT. I claim my perjured lover, Nanki-Poo!
Oh, fool! to shun delights that never cloy!
CHORUS. Go, leave thy deadly work undone!
KAT. Come back, oh, shallow fool! come back to joy!
CHORUS. Away, away! ill-favoured one!
NANK. (aside to Yum-Yum). Ah!
'Tis Katisha!
The maid of whom I told you. (About to go.)
KAT. (detaining him). No!
You shall not go,
These arms shall thus enfold you!
KAT. (addressing Nanki-Poo).
Oh fool, that fleest
My hallowed joys!
Oh blind, that seest
No equipoise!
Oh rash, that judgest
From half, the whole!
Oh base, that grudgest
Love's lightest dole!
Thy heart unbind,
Oh fool, oh blind!
Give me my place,
Oh rash, oh base!
CHORUS. If she's thy bride, restore her place,
Oh fool, oh blind, oh rash, oh base!
KAT. (addressing Yum-Yum).
Pink cheek, that rulest
Where wisdom serves!
Bright eye, that foolest
Heroic nerves!
Rose lip, that scornest
Lore-laden years!
Smooth tongue, that warnest
Who rightly hears!
Thy doom is nigh.
Pink cheek, bright eye!
Thy knell is rung,
Rose lip, smooth tongue!
CHORUS. If true her tale, thy knell is rung,
Pink cheek, bright eye, rose lip, smooth tongue!
PITTI-SING. Away, nor prosecute your quest--
From our intention, well expressed,
You cannot turn us!
The state of your connubial views
Towards the person you accuse
Does not concern us!
For he's going to marry Yum-Yum--
ALL. Yum-Yum!
PITTI. Your anger pray bury,
For all will be merry,
I think you had better succumb--
ALL. Cumb--cumb!
PITTI. And join our expressions of glee.
On this subject I pray you be dumb--
ALL. Dumb--dumb.
PITTI. You'll find there are many
Who'll wed for a penny--
The word for your guidance is "Mum"--
ALL. Mum--mum!
PITTI. There's lots of good fish in the sea!
ALL. On this subject we pray you be dumb, etc.
The hour of gladness
Is dead and gone;
In silent sadness
I live alone!
The hope I cherished
All lifeless lies,
And all has perished
Save love, which never dies!
Oh, faithless one, this insult you shall rue!
In vain for mercy on your knees you'll sue.
I'll tear the mask from your disguising!
NANK. (aside). Now comes the blow!
KAT. Prepare yourselves for news surprising!
NANK. (aside). How foil my foe?
KAT. No minstrel he, despite bravado!
YUM. (aside, struck by an idea). Ha! ha! I know!
KAT. He is the son of your----
(Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, and Chorus, interrupting, sing Japanese words,
to drown her voice.)
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!
KAT. In vain you interrupt with this tornado!
He is the only son of your----
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!
KAT. I'll spoil----
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!
KAT. Your gay gambado!
He is the son----
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!
KAT. Of your----
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to!
KAT. The son of your----
ALL. O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! oya! oya!
Ye torrents roar! We'll hear no more,
Ye tempests howl! Ill-omened owl.
Your wrath outpour To joy we soar,
With angry growl! Despite your
Do ye your worst, my vengeance The echoes of our festival
Shall rise triumphant over all! Shall rise triumphant over
Prepare for woe, Away you go,
Ye haughty lords, Collect your
At once I go Proclaim your woe
Mikado-wards, In dismal
My wrongs with vengeance shall We do not heed their
be crowned! sound
My wrongs with vengeance shall For joy reigns everywhere
be crowned! around.
(Katisha rushes furiously up stage, clearing the crowd away right
and left, finishing on steps at the back of stage.)
SCENE.--Ko-Ko's Garden.
Yum-Yum discovered seated at her bridal toilet, surrounded by
maidens, who are dressing her hair and painting her face and
lips, as she judges of the effect in a mirror.
CHORUS. Braid the raven hair--
Weave the supple tress--
Deck the maiden fair
In her loveliness--
Paint the pretty face--
Dye the coral lip--
Emphasize the grace
Of her ladyship!
Art and nature, thus allied,
Go to make a pretty bride.
Sit with downcast eye
Let it brim with dew--
Try if you can cry--
We will do so, too.
When you're summoned, start
Like a frightened roe--
Flutter, little heart,
Colour, come and go!
Modesty at marriage-tide
Well becomes a pretty bride!
Braid the raven hair, etc.
[Exeunt Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo, and
YUM. Yes, I am indeed beautiful! Sometimes I sit and
wonder, in my artless Japanese way, why it is that I am so much
more attractive than anybody else in the whole world. Can this
be vanity? No! Nature is lovely and rejoices in her loveliness.
I am a child of Nature, and take after my mother.
The sun, whose rays
Are all ablaze
With ever-living glory,
Does not deny
His majesty--
He scorns to tell a story!
He don't exclaim,
"I blush for shame,
So kindly be indulgent."
But, fierce and bold,
In fiery gold,
He glories effulgent!
I mean to rule the earth,
As he the sky--
We really know our worth,
The sun and I!
Observe his flame,
That placid dame,
The moon's Celestial Highness;
There's not a trace
Upon her face
Of diffidence or shyness:
She borrows light
That, through the night,
Mankind may all acclaim her!
And, truth to tell,
She lights up well,
So I, for one, don't blame her!
Ah, pray make no mistake,
We are not shy;
We're very wide awake,
The moon and I!
Enter Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo.
YUM. Yes, everything seems to smile upon me. I am to be
married to-day to the man I love best and I believe I am the very
happiest girl in Japan!
PEEP. The happiest girl indeed, for she is indeed to be
envied who has attained happiness in all but perfection.
YUM. In "all but" perfection?
PEEP. Well, dear, it can't be denied that the fact that
your husband is to be beheaded in a month is, in its way, a
drawback. It does seem to take the top off it, you know.
PITTI. I don't know about that. It all depends!
PEEP. At all events, he will find it a drawback.
PITTI. Not necessarily. Bless you, it all depends!
YUM. (in tears). I think it very indelicate of you to
refer to such a subject on such a day. If my married happiness
is to be--to be--
PEEP. Cut short.
YUM. Well, cut short--in a month, can't you let me forget
it? (Weeping.)
Enter Nanki-Poo, followed by Go-To.
NANK. Yum-Yum in tears--and on her wedding morn!
YUM. (sobbing). They've been reminding me that in a month
you're to be beheaded! (Bursts into tears.)
PITTI. Yes, we've been reminding her that you're to be
beheaded. (Bursts into tears.)
PEEP. It's quite true, you know, you are to be beheaded!
(Bursts into tears.)
NANK. (aside). Humph! Now, some bridegrooms would be
depressed by this sort of thing! (Aloud.) A month? Well,
what's a month? Bah! These divisions of time are purely
arbitrary. Who says twenty-four hours make a day?
PITTI. There's a popular impression to that effect.
NANK. Then we'll efface it. We'll call each second a
minute--each minute an hour--each hour a day--and each day a
year. At that rate we've about thirty years of married happiness
before us!
PEEP. And, at that rate, this interview has already lasted
four hours and three-quarters!
YUM. (still sobbing). Yes. How time flies when one is
thoroughly enjoying oneself!
NANK. That's the way to look at it! Don't let's be
downhearted! There's a silver lining to every cloud.
YUM. Certainly. Let's--let's be perfectly happy! (Almost
in tears.)
GO-TO. By all means. Let's--let's thoroughly enjoy
PITTI. It's--it's absurd to cry! (Trying to force a
YUM. Quite ridiculous! (Trying to laugh.)
(All break into a forced and melancholy laugh.)
Brightly dawns our wedding day;
Joyous hour, we give thee greeting!
Whither, whither art thou fleeting?
Fickle moment, prithee stay!
What though mortal joys be hollow?
Pleasures come, if sorrows follow:
Though the tocsin sound, ere long,
Ding dong! Ding dong!
Yet until the shadows fall
Over one and over all,
Sing a merry madrigal--
A madrigal!
Fal-la--fal-la! etc. (Ending in tears.)
Let us dry the ready tear,
Though the hours are surely creeping
Little need for woeful weeping,
Till the sad sundown is near.
All must sip the cup of sorrow--
I to-day and thou to-morrow;
This the close of every song--
Ding dong! Ding dong!
What, though solemn shadows fall,
Sooner, later, over all?
Sing a merry madrigal--
A madrigal!
Fal-la--fal-la! etc. (Ending in tears.)
[Exeunt Pitti-Sing and
(Nanki-Poo embraces Yum-Yum. Enter Ko-Ko. Nanki-Poo releases
KO. Go on--don't mind me.
NANK. I'm afraid we're distressing you.
KO. Never mind, I must get used to it. Only please do it
by degrees. Begin by putting your arm round her waist.
(Nanki-Poo does so.) There; let me get used to that first.
YUM. Oh, wouldn't you like to retire? It must pain you to
see us so affectionate together!
KO. No, I must learn to bear it! Now oblige me by allowing
her head to rest on your shoulder.
NANK. Like that? (He does so. Ko-Ko much affected.)
KO. I am much obliged to you. Now--kiss her! (He does so.
Ko-Ko writhes with anguish.) Thank you--it's simple torture!
YUM. Come, come, bear up. After all, it's only for a
KO. No. It's no use deluding oneself with false hopes.
NANK. and YUM. What do you mean?
KO. (to Yum-Yum). My child--my poor child! (Aside.) How
shall I break it to her? (Aloud.) My little bride that was to
have been?
YUM. (delighted). Was to have been?
KO. Yes, you never can be mine!
NANK. and YUM. (simultaneously, in ecstacy) What!/I'm so
KO. I've just ascertained that, by the Mikado's law, when a
married man is beheaded his wife is buried alive.
NANK. and YUM. Buried alive!
KO. Buried alive. It's a most unpleasant death.
NANK. But whom did you get that from?
KO. Oh, from Pooh-Bah. He's my Solicitor.
YUM. But he may be mistaken!
KO. So I thought; so I consulted the Attorney General, the
Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the Judge Ordinary,
and the Lord Chancellor. They're all of the same opinion. Never
knew such unanimity on a point of law in my life!
NANK. But stop a bit! This law has never been put in
KO. Not yet. You see, flirting is the only crime
punishable with decapitation, and married men never flirt.
NANK. Of course, they don't. I quite forgot that! Well, I
suppose I may take it that my dream of happiness is at an end!
YUM. Darling--I don't want to appear selfish, and I love
you with all my heart--I don't suppose I shall ever love anybody
else half as much--but when I agreed to marry you--my own--I had
no idea--pet--that I should have to be buried alive in a month!
NANK. Nor I! It's the very first I've heard of it!
YUM. It--it makes a difference, doesn't it?
NANK. It does make a difference, of course.
YUM. You see--burial alive--it's such a stuffy death!
NANK. I call it a beast of a death.
YUM. You see my difficulty, don't you?
NANK. Yes, and I see my own. If I insist on your carrying
out your promise, I doom you to a hideous death; if I release
you, you marry Ko-Ko at once!
YUM. Here's a how-de-do!
If I marry you,
When your time has come to perish,
Then the maiden whom you cherish
Must be slaughtered, too!
Here's a how-de-do!
NANK. Here's a pretty mess!
In a month, or less,
I must die without a wedding!
Let the bitter tears I'm shedding
Witness my distress,
Here's a pretty mess!
KO. Here's a state of things
To her life she clings!
Matrimonial devotion
Doesn't seem to suit her notion--
Burial it brings!
Here's a state of things!
With a passion that's intense With a passion that's
I worship and adore, You worship and adore,
But the laws of common sense But the laws of common

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